Gov. Mike Beebe has signed legislation into law giving him the discretion to call a special election to fill the vacancy in the lieutenant governor’s office, but the governor has determined he will not call a special election, his spokesman said Friday (Feb. 28).
The General Assembly, meeting in Little Rock for a fiscal session, approved Senate Bill 139, which became Act 210 after being signed by the governor. The previous law was unclear on whether the governor could decide not to call a special election to fill a vacancy when the regular election occurs in the same calendar year, said Matt DeCample, spokesman.
The lieutenant governor’s office became vacant on Feb. 1 after Lt. Gov. Mark Darr of Springdale was fined by the state Ethics Commission for spending violations and then resigned soon thereafter.
Three Republicans, U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin of Little Rock and state Reps. Debra Hobbs of Rogers and Andy Mayberry of Hensley, are running in the May 20 primary election.
The winner is expected to face Democrat John Burkhalter, a Little Rock businessman and former state Highway Commission member, in the Nov. 4 general election.