Former Cleburne County sheriff will seek Republican nomination for state House District 41 seat

District 41 incumbent Miller announces he’s not running

A roll of voting stickers is seen on Election Day, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, at the Elm Grove Community Center at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Fort Smith. Voters in Sebastian County cast their ballots for several primary, county, city and school board races, as well as special tax elections. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Hank Layton)

Former Cleburne County Sheriff Marty Moss of Heber Springs said he will seek the Republican nomination for Arkansas House of Representatives District 41 seat after incumbent Rep. Josh Miller, R-Heber Springs, announced he isn't seeking reelection next year.

Miller, who has served in the state House of Representatives since 2013, said Friday his decision not to seek reelection is based on health concerns and wanting to focus more of his time on his property management company.

Miller, a paraplegic, said his doctor advised him he needed "to slow down and take things a little bit easier."

In a news release Saturday, Moss announced his bid for the House District 41 seat that includes Cleburne and parts of Stone County. In the 2022 Republican primary, Miller beat Moss, 3,551 votes to 3,162 votes, according to the secretary of state's website.

He said Monday he has no idea whether he'll have a Republican opponent in the primary election but added "I would not be surprised."

Moss said he served as Cleburne County's sheriff from 2007-2014 as a Democrat, but he changed parties after he left office in 2015 because the Democratic Party "as I used to know it doesn't exist anymore" and "I just don't align with that."

Jerry Holmes of Heber Springs, a former Cleburne County judge and sheriff, said Monday he is talking with his family about whether to run for House District 41 as a Republican.

He said he served as Cleburne County sheriff from 1984-1990 as a Democrat, and then as Cleburne County judge from 2013-2021 as a Republican.

In his news release, Moss said he would focus on the future of House District 41 and the state by further advancing fiscal restraint and responsibility, as well as ensuring government transparency and accountability with a common-sense approach.

"I want to continue the conservative work and leadership of State Representative Josh Miller," Moss said.

As Cleburne County sheriff, he said he helped initiate Act 1173 of 2009, which enhanced children's' safety by requiring a central registry check for all school employees.

Moss said he believes in leading by example.

"I believe good government puts people over politics," he said in his news release. "I want voters to know I'm pro-Life, pro-Second Amendment, and will always be present and available to you."

About two weeks ago, Democrat Tom Nowlin, a U.S. Navy veteran and ordained Baptist minister from Stone County, announced he would run for the House District 41 seat.

Miller is the ninth state representative to announce they will not seek reelection next year.

State Reps. Charlene Fite, R-Van Buren; 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.

In late August, Scott said she would seek election to the Senate seat held by veteran Sen. Linda Chesterfield, D-Little Rock, who said she will not seek reelection next year and will support Scott to be her successor.

Chesterfield is the only senator of the 18 up for election next year who has announced she will not seek reelection. The Arkansas Senate comprises 29 Republicans and six Democrats. The Arkansas House of Representatives is made up of 82 Republicans and 18 Democrats.

The filing period for candidates for federal and state offices in Arkansas will be from noon Nov. 6 through noon Nov. 14.

The primary election will be March 5, 2024, with the runoff election April 2, 2024, and the general election Nov. 5, 2024.