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A former state representative and Democratic Party of Arkansas chairman announced Wednesday that he will run for a Little Rock-area state Senate seat to which the incumbent has opted not to seek re-election.

Will Bond, who represented Jacksonville at the Capitol from January 2003 to January 2009, said he hopes to replace Democrat David Johnson, a fellow lawyer who is seeking a judicial post.

Bond, 45, of Little Rock stressed his commitment to education, equality and the environment in a press release announcing his candidacy.

"We are all in this together," Bond said. "Our policies must focus on what is in the best interest of Arkansas, not what is best for special interests. I will work to expand pre-K and improve our public schools, protect and improve Arkansas' private option, conserve our national resources and fight for equal rights for all, regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation."

Senate District 32 stretches from downtown Little Rock past Pinnacle Mountain and into the Roland area.

Johnson announced Monday that after two terms in the Senate, he will seek a District Court slot for Maumelle and Jacksonville.

Johnson is a former deputy attorney for Pulaski County who, after working at various law firms, became the vice president of community investment at the Arkansas Community Foundation.

Bond has been a partner at the Little Rock law firm McMath Woods P.A. since 2006.

After his stint in the General Assembly, the University of Arkansas law school graduate was tapped by former Democrat Gov. Mike Beebe to head the state party, a post he held until 2013.

During his tenure, Democrats lost control of the state House of Representatives and the state Senate for the first time since Reconstruction. Republicans also captured most of the Arkansas seats on Capitol Hill.

State Democratic Party Executive Director Candace Martin said that she expects the Democratic-leaning Senate district to attract more than one candidate in the primary.

"There's quite a lot of people in the district that all care about the same thing: They care about pre-K, they care about [economic] development and also, more progressive issues as well," Martin said. "The nature of that could potentially attract a number of people to consider running for that office."

Doyle Webb, chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas, said Republicans are eyeing the race and looking for potential Republican candidates.

"I think we would be competitive in that district," Webb said. "We are pleased with our number [of seats] in the state Senate ... and I look forward to another good year next year."

Metro on 06/18/2015

Print Headline: Democrats' Bond in state Senate bid

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