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Beebe: No special election for vacated House seat

LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Mike Beebe will not call a special election to complete the remainder of the term of a state lawmaker who resigned, the governor’s office said Thursday.

Former Rep. Hudson Hallum of Marion formally resigned in a letter to Beebe on Wednesday, a week after pleading guilty to a federal vote fraud charge.

Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said Thursday the governor discussed with his legal counsel and the state attorney general’s office the scenarios for calling a special election, including giving the political parties the option of holding a convention or primary to choose candidates for the vacated District 54 seat.

“Under the best-case scenario for a special election, timewise, the earliest would be Dec. 12, which after certification would give that person a term of less than 10 days,” DeCample said. “In many scenarios, it would have pushed it into 2013, which of course would have made it moot at that point.”

Hallum, a Democrat, was seeking election to a new District 50, which was drawn during legislative redistricting following the 2010 U.S. Census. His term in District 54 will end when the 89th General Assembly is seated Jan. 14.

He won the District 54 seat in a 2011 special election after former Rep. Fred Smith resigned following his conviction on a felony theft charge just weeks into the 2011 regular session.

Hallum had no Republican opposition in the the Nov. 6 general election for the District 50 seat. In May, he escaped a Democratic Party primary challenge when a Pulaski County circuit judge ruled that Smith was unqualified to run for the seat because his theft conviction was not expunged until after he filed for office.

Smith later was nominated by the Green Party of Arkansas for the House seat and apparently will return to the Legislature unopposed.

Hallum was charged with his father and two others in a vote-buying scheme prosecutors said they carried out during the 2011 special election. All four pleaded guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced in December.

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