UPDATE: Candidate filing period begins today at state Capitol

The Arkansas Capitol in Little Rock on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Steve Goff)
The Arkansas Capitol in Little Rock on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Steve Goff)

Supreme Court Justice Barbara Webb filed Monday for the chief justice position on the state Supreme Court.

Webb is one of four announced candidates for the post. The others are justices Rhonda Wood and Karen Baker and attorney Jay Martin.

Chief Justice Dan Kemp is retiring.

So far, three Democrats and one Republican have filed to run for Congressional races.

Republican Rep. Bruce Westerman of Hot Springs announced in a news release he filed for re-election for Arkansas’ 4th Congressional District.

Democrats Marcus Jones, Caitlin Draper and Rodney Govens also filed paperwork Monday to run for Congress.

Jones, a retired Army colonel, will run for Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District, currently held by Republican French Hill. Draper, a social worker from Fayetteville, filed to run for Arkansas’ 3rd Congressional District, currently represented by Republican Steve Womack. Govens, of Cabot, filed to run for Arkansas’ 1st Congressional District held by Republican Rick Crawford.

12:25 p.m. Secretary of State John Thurston on Monday filed for state treasurer.

The East End Republican is the first candidate to file at the Capitol for state and federal office. He’s running to serve the final two years of the four-year term for which the late state Treasurer Mark Lowery was elected to in 2022. Larry Walther is serving as state treasurer until 2025.

10:52 a.m.: The candidate filing period for state and federal offices for the 2024 elections begins at noon today at the state Capitol with many candidates expected to file today.

The state and federal offices up for grabs include Arkansas' four congressional seats, 100 state House of Representatives seats, 18 state Senate posts, three state Supreme Court seats, and the state treasurer's post. The filing period will end at noon Nov. 14, with some candidates choosing to file in person at the state Capitol while others may show up at county clerk offices around the state.

The first day of the filing period typically is the busiest day.

Candidates for president also will file at the state Capitol. Arkansas — along with other states such as California, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina and Oklahoma — will hold its primary elections March 5, also known as Super Tuesday. The runoff election is April 2, 2024, and the general election is Nov. 5, 2024.

So far, only a handful of incumbent Arkansas state lawmakers have announced opponents in the primary election.

They include state Sen. David Wallace, R-Leachville, who is being challenged by doctor Tommy Wagner of Manila; state Sen. Steve Crowell, R-Magnolia, who will face businessman Mark Silvey of Rosston; Rep. Cindy Crawford, R-Fort Smith, who has competition from applications solution architect Jeff Burks of Fort Smith; and state Rep. Fred Allen, D-Little Rock, whose announced opponent is carhop Grant Smith of Little Rock for the second time.

State Reps. Charlene Fite, R-Van Buren; Josh Miller, R-Heber Springs; Lanny Fite, R-Benton; Delia Haak, R-Centerton; Mark Berry, R-Ozark; Milton Nicks, D-Marion; Jack Fortner, R-Yellville; Jamie Scott, D-North Little Rock; and Deborah Ferguson, D-West Memphis, have said they will not seek reelection to their House seats. State Sen. Linda Chesterfield, D-Little Rock, also announced she will not seek reelection with Scott announcing a bid for Chesterfield’s Senate seat.

For Congress, all four members of the state’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives — Republicans Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman — have said they are seeking reelection.

So far, Democrats Marcus Jones, who will run against Hill in the 2nd District, and Caitlin Draper, who will run against Womack in the 3rd District, have announced their plans to file.

State Sen. Clint Penzo, R-Springdale, said Thursday he is considering a bid to challenge Womack in the Republican primary for the 3rd Congressional District.

Three spots on the Arkansas Supreme Court will be on the ballot in March. The seven justices who serve on the court are elected through statewide races and serve eight-year terms.

Three current Supreme Court justices — Karen Baker, Rhonda Wood and Barbara Webb — and former Democratic state lawmaker Jay Martin have announced they will run for chief justice, a spot held by John Dan Kemp. Kemp has said he plans to retire at the end of his term, saying that because he is older than 70 he would have to forfeit his retirement benefits under state law if he were reelected.

Voters also will have to select a justice to serve in the Position 2 seat, which was held by Justice Robin Wynne, who died in office earlier this year. Sanders appointed former U.S. Attorney and Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman Cody Hiland to serve until 2025.

Current Supreme Court Justice Courtney Hudson, of Position 3, announced she will run for Wynne’s spot in the court as it would allow her to serve longer before retirement. Circuit Judge Carlton D. Jones of Texarkana also announced a run for Position 2, formerly held by Wynne.

Justice Shawn Womack has announced plans to seek reelection to the high court’s Position 5.

Check back throughout the day for additional updates from the opening day of the candidate filing.

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