U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, a Republican living in Little Rock, announced Thursday (Feb. 13) he is running for lieutenant governor.
The announcement comes just months after Griffin said in October he would not seek re-election to Congress, indicating he wanted to spend more time with his family.
“Last year, I announced my decision not to seek re-election to Congress when my term ends,” said Griffin in a prepared statement. “The decision to leave Congress and return home was an agonizing decision but the right one for my young family. Since that announcement, I have been urged to continue public service, and I am humbled and honored at the encouragement I have received from all over our wonderful state.”
With Griffin’s entry into the lieutenant governor’s race, state Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville, has abandoned his bid to become lieutenant governor and is seeking re-election to his east Fayetteville House seat. Democrat Candy Clark, a Washington County Quorum Court member, has declared she is running for that seat in House District 84.
The lieutenant governor’s office has been vacant since Feb. 1, when Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Darr of Springdale resigned after the state Ethics Commission fined him for spending violations. Darr had been a candidate for Congress but abandoned that effort when the ethics issues came to light.
The lieutenant governor’s race picked up another contender this week when state Rep. Debra Hobbs, R-Rogers, announced in Little Rock, where legislators are meeting for a fiscal session, that she is running for the office. Hobbs had previously been a candidate for governor.
These developments in the lieutenant governor’s race pit Hobbs, Griffin and state Rep. Andy Mayberry, R-Hensley, against one another in the May 20 primary election for that office.
Another Republican, Craig Miller of Newton County, had recently scheduled an announcement at Neal’s Cafe in Springdale to declare he is running for lieutenant governor, but he postponed the announcement because of winter weather. The announcement has not been rescheduled.
The winner in the GOP lieutenant governor primary is expected to face Democrat John Burkhalter in the Nov. 4 general election.
Hobbs’ withdrawal from the governor’s race leaves two Republicans, Asa Hutchinson and Curtis Coleman, vying for the party nomination in the May 20 primary. The winner is expected to face Democrat Mike Ross in the Nov. 4 general election.