Governor Asks Lt. Gov. Darr to Resign
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe has asked Lt. Gov. Mark Darr to resign his post over a recent ethics case.
Beebe called Darr on Tuesday (Dec. 31) and asked him to quit, but Darr declined the request, stating he would stay in office, according to Beebe’s spokesman Matt DeCample.
An announcement about Darr’s misspent campaign funds and failure to keep records was also brought up during a news conference Tuesday.
The Democratic governor’s request for the Republican second-in-command to step down comes one day after Darr agreed to pay $11,000 in fines. The state Ethics Commission found probable cause Darr had violated 11 state campaign and ethics laws dating back to 2010.
In the wake of the ethics ruling, Darr admitted he erred on campaign finance filings, signed a letter from the Ethics Commission that admitted guilt, and agreed to pay the fines.
After the call from the governor, though, Amber Pool, a spokeswoman for Darr, said the lieutenant governor had no intention of stepping down.
Beebe’s resignation call only holds symbolic weight. The popular governor has no authority to force Darr out because both are independent constitutional officers for the state of Arkansas. According to the governor’s spokesman, Matt DeCample, only the state Legislature can force Darr to resign.
After the call with Beebe, Darr attempted to move past the call for his resignation in a prepared statement.
“The mistakes I made have been well documented,” he said. “My focus now is on making things right with the people of Arkansas.”
Darr was elected lieutenant governor in 2010, defeating Democrat state Sen. Shane Broadway.
In August, Darr declared his intention to run for the open U.S. House seat in Arkansas’s 4th Congressional District that’s currently held by Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, who’s decided to challenge Democrat Mark Pryor for his U.S. Senate seat.
Shortly after his announcement, however, left-leaning Arkansas blogger Matt Campbell began to report improper spending by Darr’s 2010 campaign. Because of these questions over campaign finances, Darr called off his congressional campaign less than a month after declaring.
Term-limited, Beebe cannot run for another term in the 2014 gubernatorial race.
Two Republican state House members, Charlie Collins and Andy Mayberry, and Democrat John Burkhalter are running for lieutenant governor in the 2014 election.
CNN contributed to this story.