LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Mike Beebe won't call a special election to fill the state Senate seat of a lawmaker stepping down to take a lobbying job with the University of Arkansas system, the governor's office announced Thursday.
Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample cited the potential cost and timeline for a special election to replace Republican Sen. Johnny Key, who is stepping down effective Thursday to begin work as the UA system's associate vice president for university relations.
DeCample said in an email that the earliest a special election could be held would have been during the November general election, if Democrats and Republicans selected their nominees via convention. The election results wouldn't be certified until mid-November, and DeCample said the governor has no plans to call a special session during the holiday season.
If either party asked for a primary, the election couldn't be held before Key's term ends in 2015.
"For these reasons, Governor Beebe sees it as prudent to avoid the costs and logistical hurdles of a special election to briefly fill the vacancy caused by Senator Key's departure," DeCample wrote.
Key, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, has served in the state Senate since 2009. Scott Flippo won the Republican nomination for his north Arkansas seat in June, and there is no Democrat running for the seat in November.