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Witt announces candidacy in 4th District race

By David Harten

This article was published November 5, 2013 at 1:09 p.m.

James Lee Witt, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency during President Bill Clinton’s term, uses a chart of the most costly disasters since 1980 to illustrate points he was making during a lecture March 16, 2011, at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock.

James Lee Witt, the Federal Emergency Management Agency director under President Bill Clinton, announced Tuesday that he will run for the 4th District congressional seat.

Witt said in a conference call with reporters that he will file papers later this week to confirm his candidacy.

Witt, 69, is now one of two Democratic candidates for the seat, joining Hot Springs native Janis Percefull, who announced her bid in July. Businessman Tommy Moll of Hot Springs and state House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman, both Republicans, also have announced candidacies.

The 4th District consists primarily of southern and western Arkansas counties.

The Dardanelle native, who served as a Yell County judge from 1978-1988, will seek out the position currently held by U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, who announced earlier this year he will challenge U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor for seat in Washington, D.C.

Witt served as the director of FEMA from 1993-2001 and before that as director of the Arkansas Office of Emergency Services from 1988-1993.


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