Arkansas Elections

File photo. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R).
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was expected to testify Friday morning in a lawsuit accusing her of obstructing ballot initiatives in her role of approving the language of items being placed on the ballot. But as the hearing was getting underway, it was announced that the trail was being moved from state court to federal court.

It comes just days after Pulaski County Circuit Judge Griffen issued a strongly worded opinion ordering Mr. Rutledge to testify and not allowing her to defer it to a lower level staffer.

There are two candidates for governor on the Democratic primary ballot. Both are political newcomers with different backgrounds, levels of political backing, and degrees of adherence to Democratic Party norms. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman has this report. Election Day is Tuesday, May 22nd.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is expected to appear in court Friday before Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen. She’s being sued by Alex Gray, a lawyer representing two ballot measure groups, who says she’s not letting the state’s voter-initiated referendum process work.

“Our claim is that the specific subsection the attorney general is using to reject what is now 70 of 70 proposed ballot measures, that provision is unconstitutional,” Gray says.

Actually, another subsection of Article 5, Section 1 of the state constitution — subsection B — allows for the attorney general to rewrite ballot language in anticipation of certification. Rutledge has not done that, Gray alleges in the suit.

The May 22nd Democratic primary ballot features the deciding race for Pulaski County Sheriff. The winner will be unopposed in the November general election. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman reports on the contest between Carl Minden and Eric Higgins. Sheriff Doc Holladay is not running for re-election.

Take a listen to the audio link above for the full story. 

Leslie Rutledge Attorney General
Talk Business & Politics

A judge is denying a request by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to quash a subpoena calling her to testify in a lawsuit.

A group that has been rejected in its efforts to get language for a ballot initiative approved by the AG’s office argued that Rutledge "has acted in bad faith" and is abusing her power. The Committee to Restore Arkansas’ Rights wants to change the sovereign immunity provision in the state constitution.

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jared Henderson is out with his first television commercial. It strikes a positive tone and doesn’t mention his primary opponent, Leticia Sanders or Governor Asa Hutchinson. His campaign says it'll be the only TV spot of the primary.

KATV

In an unexpected announcement, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola said he will not seek a fourth term. In an e-mail released on Tuesday morning, Stodola said he'll step aside at the completion of his term because an immediate family member received a serious medical diagnosis.

Stodola issued a letter to the denizens of the Capitol city.

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CITIZENS OF LITTLE ROCK

Election vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Early voting begins today for the May 22nd primaries and nonpartisan judicial election. Early voting runs Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

Voters can choose either a Republican or Democratic ballot but not both, regardless of political party affiliation. Voters also can get a nonpartisan judicial ballot, independent of or in addition to a party primary ballot.

The nonpartisan judicial races include the contest for Arkansas Supreme Court Associate Justice between David Sterling, Courtney Goodson, and Kenneth Hixson.

Second Congressional District candidate Clarke Tucker is out with his second television ad in as many weeks. Tucker is in a four-person Democratic primary contest along with Jonathan Dunkley, Paul Spencer, and Gwen Combs. His campaign fundraising totals have eclipsed the rest of the field's combined total.

The new ad takes up a centrist issue and tone, in a primary race typified by candidates embracing the term progressive. The ad focuses on employment for veterans and portrays Tucker as a bi-partisan leader saying, "In Congress, I'll work with anyone." 

election voter ID vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas' highest court says the state can enforce a voter ID law in the May 22 primary despite a judge declaring the measure unconstitutional.

The state Supreme Court decision Wednesday overruled a Pulaski County judge who had blocked the law's enforcement. The primary is on May 22, and early voting begins Monday.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray ruled the law was unconstitutional on April 26, and issued a preliminary injunction blocking the state's enforcement of the law less than a month before primary elections. 

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