Democrat jumps in AG race; 3rd Supreme Court candidate enters

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,309 views 

Democrat Mike Lee pivoted from a State Representative race in west Little Rock to a statewide race to challenge GOP Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. Lee, a former attorney with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, filed last week for the Arkansas House of Representatives, District 31 seat held by Rep. Andy Davis, R-Little Rock.

“Since filing to run for a seat in the General Assembly last week, I have been inundated with calls from around the state. Scores of voters, inspired by my crusade to stand up for Arkansas’ working families, have reached out to encourage me to take my campaign statewide. With encouragement from friends and total strangers alike, I am seeking the office of attorney general,” Lee said.

Rutledge filed last week for re-election to the post she won in 2014. Lee suggested he would be more aggressive on the environmental front than Rutledge, who has sided often against Environmental Protection Agency rules and regulations during the Obama administration.

“As attorney general, I will restore the dignity of the office and put nearly forty years of legal experience to work for Arkansas families. I will fight the special interests, big businesses, and elite campaign donors who pollute our air, poison our drinking water, pilfer our natural resources, and hold our elections hostage with ‘dark money,’” Lee said. “I have the right experience to serve as attorney general and get results for all Arkansans.”

Rutledge responded to Lee’s entry in the race:

“I’m proud of my record as Attorney General, protecting Arkansans from criminals, con artists and an overreaching federal government, and I look forward to sharing these accomplishments and my vision throughout this campaign,” Rutledge said. “I will continue creating opportunities for job growth by taking regulatory burdens off the backs of our job creators and aggressively attacking the opioid epidemic that is hitting every family and community without regard to gender, race, neighborhood, education or income. The people of Arkansas know that the right experience matters, and I am honored by the outpouring of support I’ve received from across the state for my re-election as Arkansas’s chief law enforcement officer. As I’ve proven every day, no one will outwork me on behalf of Arkansans.”

In another development, Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Kenneth Hixson filed Wednesday as a candidate for the Arkansas Supreme Court. The seat is currently held by Justice Courtney Goodson, who is seeking re-election to an eight-year term. Attorney David Sterling, a 2014 GOP candidate for Attorney General, has also filed for the Supreme Court seat.

The race is non-partisan and the primary will be held in conjunction with party primaries on May 22, 2018. If the three-way race does not present a majority vote winner in May, the run-off for the judicial post will be held on the same day as the general election on November 6, 2018.

Hixson grew up in Paris, Arkansas and is a University of Central Arkansas graduate and holds a J.D. from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

He was employed in private practice from 1982 to 1994 in the law firm of Jones & Hixson in Fayetteville. In 1994 he joined P.A.M. Transportation Services, Inc. as its general counsel. In 2004, he reopened his private practice where he remained until he was elected to the Arkansas Court of Appeals in 2012.

Hixson currently resides in Fayetteville with his wife. They have two children.

“It is an honor to file as a candidate for Supreme Court. Between growing up working in the coal mines of Logan County and owning a small business, I understand the importance of fairness and the value of hard work,“ Hixson said. “What sets me apart in this race is my experience working with Arkansans from a diverse set of backgrounds during my time in private law practice, as general counsel for one of the largest trucking companies in Arkansas, and as a judge on the Arkansas Court of Appeals.”

Filing continues until noon on Thursday, March 1. For a complete list of candidates for political office, click here.