Washington County Circuit Judge Bill Storey is running for the open Fayetteville District Court seat, he told 5NEWS on Monday (June 17).
A vacancy was created on the bench when Rudy Moore Jr. died in April of complications from cancer.
The nonpartisan election is May 20, 2014, to fulfill what will be the remaining two years of Moore’s term. Fayetteville lawyer Tim Snively already has announced he also is running for the post.
Storey said circuit judges older than 70 years of age lose their retirement benefits if they seek re-election to that court and win. Storey, 71, has been on the bench in Washington County for 23 years and 10 months, having been elected and re-elected 5 times without opposition, he said.
In a news release on Tuesday, Storey said he wants to crack down on drunken drivers and motorists who text while driving.
“I am running because I see Fayetteville District Court as an opportunity to make a real
difference in our community – by holding accountable those drivers who put our children
in danger by driving drunk or texting while driving,” he said.
Storey said while drunken driving is a “very serious crime,” driving while texting is six times more dangerous.
“All too often I see people in Fayetteville texting and driving with children in the car,” Storey said. “I truly believe this can be stopped if these drivers are aware of the risks and there are serious consequences for this conduct. We should not wait for people to be injured or die in automobile accidents before we, as a society, address this issue. Here lies the
opportunity to change our perspective.”
A graduate of Fayetteville High and the University of Arkansas, Storey has lived in Fayetteville for more than 50 years. He and his wife, Patricia, have three daughters, including Circuit Judge Beth Storey Bryan, and 11 grandchildren.
To fill the seat until a winner emerges in the May election, Gov. Mike Beebe named Fayetteville attorney David Stewart as a temporary replacement for Moore. Beebe named Stewart district judge for the Washington County District Court, Fayetteville Department, on May 9.
Stewart will hold the seat until Dec. 31, 2014. He is not permitted to run for that post in next year’s election, said Matt DeCample, the governor’s spokesman.
The winning candidate will be sworn in at the beginning of January 2015.
Candidates were not allowed to declare their candidacy until a year before the May 20, 2014, election, said David Sachar, executive director of the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission.
A candidate’s campaign committee cannot begin raising campaign contributions until six months before the election, Sachar said. Judicial candidates cannot directly solicit contributions, but instead must rely on the members of their campaign committee to raise money for them, he said.