The governor has scheduled a special election for Feb. 8, 2022 to fill the vacated seat.
Derek Van Voast made his “official unofficial” announcement that he is running to represent Arkansas Senate District 7 in a video shared on social media today. Van Voast, special assistant to Rev. Jesse Jackson, is in Georgia for the Ahmaud Arbery trial and said he will return to Arkansas to make his candidacy official following the trial.
“We can talk about infrastructure and all these things all day long, but until we start uniting people of all races and having representation of all races we’re not ever going to have real growth,” he said.
Van Voast is an Arkansas native who has called Northwest Arkansas home for nearly 20 years. He ran for a seat on Springdale City Council in 2020, but was not elected.
The Arkansas Senate District 7 seat became vacant when Sen. Lance Eads, R-Springdale, announced his resignation Oct. 28. Eads left the legislature to take a job with Capitol Consulting Firm, a government affairs and political consulting firm based in Little Rock.
District 7 currently consists of a portion of northeast and eastern Washington County that includes most of Springdale, Goshen and Elkins, as well as parts of Tontitown and Fayetteville. Under a proposed redistricting map, the district would be split among multiple districts.
Attorney Lisa Parks filed to run as a Democrat yesterday. On the Republican side, Jim Bob Duggar, former Arkansas Representative and star of the reality television show 19 Kids and Counting, has announced his candidacy. U.S. Navy veteran Steve Unger and the Springdale mayor’s chief of staff, Colby Fulfer, are also running as Republicans.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has scheduled the special election for Feb. 8, 2022. A special primary election will be Dec. 14, 2021. If required, a special primary runoff election will be held Jan. 11, 2022. The filing period began at noon Nov. 15 and will end at noon Nov. 22.