Senator-elect set to finish out term

Lamoureux takes over for Trusty

— Former state Rep. Michael Lamoureux of Russellville started moving into his state Capitol office Wednesday, a day after handily winning a special election to a vacant Senate seat.

Lamoureux, a Republican, received 2,955 votes, more than three times the number of the second-place candidate.

Democrat John Burnett of Atkins received 898 votes and independent Tachany Evans of Russellville received 363, according to the secretary of state’s office.

The District 4 seat includes Yell County and parts of Pope and Logan counties.

Lamoureaux said he drove from Russellville to Little Rock Wednesday morning to get organized to do his job as state senator.

“After six years in the House [without an office], I’m just glad to have an office,” he said.

Lamoureux may be sworn into office after the counties certify the election results, state officials said. Lamoureux said that could happen sometime next week.

He will fill the rest of the term of former Sen. Sharon Trusty, R-Russellvillle, who resigned this summer. That term runs until January 2013.

Lamoureaux, 33, an attorney and part-time public defender, served in the state House of Representatives from 2003 to January of this year. He was House Republican leader from 2005 to 2007.

He reported campaign spending $97,213 through the end of November, while Burnett and Evans collectively reported spending $16,415.

He attributed his victory to his previous legislative experience.

Burnett, 56, an attorney, said his campaign was hurt by a lack of campaign contributions and an assumption among some Democrats that the district would remain Republican.

Evans, 36, is a massage therapist and former professional boxer.

Lamoureux’s win means Republicans will continue to hold eight Senate seats compared with the Democrats’ 27. Seventeen Senate seats, including 13 seats held by termlimited senators, will be on the ballot in 2010.

State Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb said Lamoureux exemplifies why the Republican Party “will do so well in 2010 and beyond.”

Mariah Hatta, executive director of the state Democratic Party, said she hopes Lamoureux “will work across party lines for the good of our people and avoid the hyper-partisanship cult of Republican legislators, mostly in the House, who would like to make the Capitol in Little Rock more like the one in Washington.”

Hatta declined to say which GOP House members fit that description.

In the House, Democrats hold 72 seats and Republicans have 28 seats. All 100 House seats are on the 2010 ballot, including 34 seats held by termlimited representatives.

Arkansas, Pages 14 on 12/10/2009

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