The Libertarian Party of Arkansas selected 23 candidates to run for office Saturday in a special nominating convention, including individuals to run for the five congressional races on next year’s ballot.
Frank Gilbert was nominated to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark. Gilbert won 2% of the vote running for governor in 2014.
Nathan LaFrance, who won 2% of the vote running for Senate in 2014, will campaign for the 3rd District House seat held by U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers. Chris Hayes, who won 6% of the vote campaigning for state treasurer in 2014, will run for the 2nd District House seat held by U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock. Mark West of Oil Trough is the party’s nominee for the 1st District House seat held by U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro. Kerry Hicks of Mena is campaigning for the 4th District House seat held by U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs.
All six members of the state’s congressional delegation are Republicans. In a press release, the party said it could nominate more candidates if it wins a lawsuit asking for more time.
Third parties must nominate candidates for the 2016 general election by the first week of November, which is the end of the filing period for Republican and Democratic candidates. The early deadline is a result of a law passed this year in order to make it possible for Arkansas’ primaries to be on March 1, the so-called “SEC primary” involving other Southern states.
A 2013 law moved the deadline for third party and independent candidates from May to February in typical years.
Attorney James Linger will represent the Libertarian Party in the case in U.S. District Court, where Judge James Moody will preside.
Earlier this year, Linger represented Mark Moore, an independent who sued over the same state law’s treatment of independent candidates, in a case before Moody. Moody ruled then that the law is constitutional because the state has a compelling interest in the earlier date in order to have time to process signatures, respond to litigation, and comply with federal law.
Libertarians finished their ballot access drive in June by gathering the required signatures of 10,000 registered voters. To avoid collecting signatures again in 2018, the Libertarian candidate for president must receive 3% of the popular vote in the 2016 general election.
The party also nominated two candidates for the Arkansas Senate and eight candidates for the Arkansas House. In the Senate, Elvis D. Presley of Star City, who won 6.2% in 2014 campaigning for land commissioner, was nominated for District 26. Jacob Mosier of Little Rock will stand for election in Senate District 32.
House candidates are:
• Wayne Willems for House District 15
• Glen Schwarz of Little Rock for House District 29
• Michael Williams for House District 33
• Christopher Olson for House District 61. Olson won 4% of the vote as a candidate for lieutenant governor in 2014.
• Stephen Edwards for House District 77
• Kyle Adams for House District 83
• Grant Brand for House District 95. Brand won 21% of the vote as a candidate for 3rd District U.S. House in 2014.
• Michael Kalagias for House District 96. Kalagias won 5% of the vote running for the same position in 2014.
• Stephen Isaacson for House District 97
Other Libertarian candidates are:
• Ronnie Smith for Benton County Judge
• Patrick Mulligan for Pulaski County Sheriff
• Doug Harris for Saline County Justice of the Peace District 1
• Carl Wikstrom for Saline County Justice of the Peace District 8
• Natalie Frye for Faulkner County Justice of the Peace District 7
• Dallas Sosebee for Benton County Justice of the Peace District 14
• William Whitfield Hyman for Sebastian County Justice of the Peace District 7
The state’s only elected Libertarian, Jacob Faught, will run for reelection as constable in Benton County District 5.
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