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story.lead_photo.caption From left: Attorney Ben Crump, former Little Rock resident Roderick Talley and attorney Mike Laux speak at a press conference Oct. 15, 2018 at the Delta Presents Outreach Foundation in Little Rock. - Photo by Jaime Dunaway

The state House seat that was held by the late Rep. John Walker, D-Little Rock, drew an independent candidate for the 2020 election Tuesday, while two others announced intentions to run as candidates to fill the remainder of the current term.

So far, Roderick Talley, the independent, is the only candidate to file for House District 34 in the 2020 regular election. The filing period ends next Tuesday.

Earlier this year, Talley had been a candidate to fill a vacancy for a different House seat, held by then-House Minority Leader Charles Blake until he resigned. In the August special Democratic primary election, Talley took fourth place in the five-candidate race. Talley said Tuesday that he had since moved to Walker's district.

Meanwhile, Little Rock Democrats Ryan Davis and Joy Springer said that they plan to run in a special election to fill the vacancy created with Walker's death last week.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson set a special primary election on Jan. 14 for the House District 34 seat and a special election for March 3 under a proclamation that he signed Monday. If a special runoff election is required in House District 34, it will be held Feb. 11.

The special election will fill the House seat until the term ends in mid-January 2021.

Hutchinson set the filing period from noon Nov. 12 until noon Nov. 19 at the Capitol.

March 3 also is the date of the statewide primary elections, followed by the statewide general election on Nov. 3, 2020, for all House seats, with two-year terms starting in January 2021. The regular elections also will be for some state Senate seats, local races, Congress and U.S. president.

Walker, who was a noted civil-rights attorney, died Oct. 28 at the age of 82. He had held the House District 34 seat since 2011.

Davis, who is director of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's Children International, said he plans to announce his bid for the House seat soon.

The UALR nonprofit focuses on helping children break the cycle of poverty. It was established in 1994 as a partnership between UALR and Children International, a Kansas City organization, according to its website.

Davis also is an associate pastor at Bullock Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Little Rock.

He said he had a lot of respect for Walker, who was serving his fifth two-year term in the state House. He said Walker left "a great void" and Davis wants to step in and fill it in his own way.

Springer, who is office manager at the John W. Walker law firm, said she also intends to run for the House seat. She noted that she worked for Walker for 28 years.

For more than 20 years, Springer has worked as an education monitor for the law firm, according to the firm's website. The website states that Springer's most notable work has been in the Little Rock school desegregation case, where she worked as an advocate for black student "intervenors" in the case.

Springer was among seven Little Rock School Board members removed after the state Board of Education in January 2015 voted to take control of the district because six of its 48 schools were rated as academically distressed.

Last month, the state board approved a framework for a plan to move the district to a locally elected board. Under the plan, the local board would have limited authority as defined by the state board.

State Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb said Tuesday that "we have not been contacted by any potential candidates to date" when asked about potential Republican candidates for Walker's seat.

The state House of Representatives has 75 Republicans and 22 Democrats with three vacant seats.

Little Rock Democrat Denise Ennett was unopposed in Tuesday's special election in House District 36, Blake's former seat.

Metro on 11/06/2019

Print Headline: Walker's seat for '20 pulls one filer


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