LITTLE ROCK — Democratic candidate Herb Rule vowed Friday to continue his race for the 2nd District congressional seat following his arrest Thursday night in Fayetteville on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
Rule said he was not drunk and was confident he would be found innocent.
Rule was booked into the Washington County jail and later released with instructions to appear in court on Aug. 27, according to a Fayetteville police report. After his arrest, he refused to submit to a test of his blood-alcohol level.
Rule, 74, of Little Rock is challenging Republican incumbent Tim Griffin for the 2nd District congressional seat.
Rule said he visited Thursday night with friends and supporters in Northwest Arkansas. He said he had dinner and drank one ounce of scotch two hours before getting into his car.
"I was not drunk. I was in complete control of my faculties, and my refusal to submit to a Breathalyzer or a blood test is a right that we all have under the law," Rule told reporters Friday during a news conference at his Little Rock campaign headquarters.
Blood-alcohol tests do not have "the level of accuracy that I could be confident in," he said.
Rule said no one in the Democratic Party had asked him to quit the congressional race.
Asked what he would do if found guilty, he said "I’ll make that decision at that time."
A Fayetteville police officer stopped Rule about 10 p.m. Thursday after seeing him drift out of his lane of traffic and turn without signalling, according to the police report. Rule initially was unwilling to comply with the officer’s instructions, according to the report.
Rule smelled of intoxicants and did not pass field sobriety test, the officer reported. Rule was placed under arrest and taken to the Washington County jail, where he refused to sign any paperwork or submit to a blood-alcohol test.
He was booked into jail on suspicion of DWI, violation of the implied consent law, improper lane use and failure to use a turn signal. He was released at 3:59 a.m. Friday.
Rule said at his news conference, "Unfortunately this consumes an entire news cycle, when what I think we should be focused on is the economy and the problems that real people are having."
Candace Martin, spokeswoman for the state Democratic Party, said Friday the party would have no immediate comment.
"We’re just waiting for more details about the situation," she said.
In 2010, Rule was arrested by Rogers police on suspicion of DWI, driving on a license that was suspended or revoked for DWI and refusing to submit to a blood-alcohol test. He was acquitted in that case.
Asked Friday if has ever been treated for a drinking problem, Rule said he has not.
Rule practiced law with the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock for 48 years before resigning this year to run for Congress. He served two terms in the state Legislature in the 1960s.
He had no opponent in the May Democratic primary.