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Green Party Legislator in Arkansas Loses Democratic Primary

Arkansas held primaries for the Democratic and Republican Parties on May 20. Incumbent state representative Fred Smith was defeated in the Democratic primary in the 50th district. The vote was: Smith 539; Milton Nicks 1,096.

Smith had been nominated by the Green Party in 2012 and had been elected. Although his name was on the only name on the November 2012 ballot, he had two write-in opponents in November. Earlier this year, Smith announced he would seek re-election, not as a Green, but as a Democrat.

This is the second time a Green Party legislator in Arkansas sought to run for re-election in the Democratic primary. Each time, the incumbent lost the Democratic primary. The first instance was in 2010, when Richard Carroll, who had been elected as a Green in 2008, tried to win re-election as a Democrat.

3 Responses

  1. Jim Riley

    Smith was not the only candidate on the November 2012 ballot. He got a court order that forbade counting of votes for another candidate, who had pled guilty to election fraud in the special election that had followed Smith’s conviction on fraud. Had that other candidate won, there would have been a special election in 2014.

  2. Will Fenwick

    Given he won the general election in 2010 with 81% of the vote, smith would have had a better chance sticking with the green party and going for a plurality, even if he split the democratic vote by 50 percent the republican candiate (if there even is one) still would not ordinarily be able to win in that district.

    • Jim Riley

      In 2010, he received 81% as the Democratic candidate against a write-in candidate. He narrowly was nominated, getting 53% in the Democratic runoff.

      He was forced to resign and then made a comeback in 2012, and could not get on the Democratic primary ballot. The candidate who had replaced him was convicted of election fraud, but was the Democratic nominee. He likely would have won the election, triggering a special election. But Smith got an injunction against counting the votes. In Arkansas, votes aren’t counted in uncontested races – so it is unknown whether Smith received the most votes.

      It is pretty far fetched that someone who could only get 1/3 of the votes in a Democratic primary would do better in the general election running as a Green against a Democrat.

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