LITTLE ROCK - A former Democratic state representative is alleging that a Republican legislative candidate is ineligible to serve because of a misdemeanor hot-check conviction.
Former state Rep. Johnnie Bolin of Crossett is the listed as the plaintiff in a complaint that was provided to the Arkansas News Bureau on Monday afternoon. It was not immediately clear whether the complaint had been filed in Drew County Circuit Court.
The complaint seeks a judge’s order that Republican Jim A. Hall be stricken from the ballot as a general-election candidate for House District 9 and that no other candidate be approved as a replacement. Hall is seeking the seat previously held by Democrat Sheilla Lampkin of Monticello, who died July 23 of ovarian cancer.
LeAnne Burch of Monticello is the Democratic nominee in the general-election race for District 9 in a special election to be held on the same day as the general election to complete the remainder of Lampkin’s current term. Hall has said he will run as a write-in candidate in the special election.
The complaint alleges that Hall is ineligible under Article 5, Section 9 of the Arkansas Constitution, which states, “No person hereafter convicted of embezzlement of public money, bribery, forgery or other infamous crime shall be eligible to the General Assembly or capable of holding any office of trust or profit in this state.”
The state Legislature has defined “infamous crime” to include, among other things, “a misdemeanor offense in which the finder of fact was required to find, or the defendant to admit, an act of deceit, fraud or false statement.”
Hall was arrested on a misdemeanor hot-check warrant in Conway on April 1, 2016. He later paid a fine for the offense.
Bolin’s lawyer is Chris Burks, legal counsel for the Democratic Party of Arkansas.
Hall said Monday the charge resulted from a “check that slipped through the cracks.” He said he planned to file a petition to have the record in the case sealed.
He also said the conviction does not fall under the defition of an infamous crime and said the allegation is “harassment” that suggests his opponents’ supporters may not be confident about the race.
“I welcome an election with her, but apparently, they’re not brave enough to go to an election,” Hall said.
House Minority Leader Michael John Gray, D-Augusta, said in a statement Monday, “To put forth a candidate who, at best, was less than forthcoming about his legal issues is an affront to the people of Ashley and Drew counties. All leaders should do more than just advance party politics or political ideology. We owe it to the people of Arkansas to seek candidates, office holders and public servants that they can be proud of.”
The election is Nov. 8.