State Rep. Jon Eubanks, R-Paris, said last week that Lt. Gov. Mark Darr’s decision to resign on Feb. 1 was “the best thing for him and his family.”
“I think he did the right thing,” Eubanks said. “He brought a cloud over himself and the office.”
Darr is resigning after drawing ethics sanctions for misuse of campaign funds and taxpayer dollars. Darr announced his resignation within two weeks of being fined $11,000 by the state Ethics Commission for 11 violations of state ethics and campaign finance laws. Darr has attributed the violations to unintentional errors but said he was resigning to spare his family from the “toxic business” of politics.
Questions remain regarding the legally required process when a lieutenant governor leaves office early. Matt DeCample, spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe, has said the governor’s office is looking into whether the governor is required to declare a vacancy, which under state law apparently would then require a special election to be held within 150 days.
The leaders of the House and Senate have said that if a special election is required, they would support changing the law during next month’s fiscal session to allow the office to remain vacant until the November election.
DeCample said that Beebe is open to considering the idea.
Eubanks questioned the wisdom of having a special election with the general election coming in November.
“We’re so close to a general election, I can’t see how you spend close to $2 million to have a special election.
Prior to announcing his resignation, some lawmakers were considering impeaching Darr.
Impeachment proceedings would have taken place in the House. As a member of the House of Representatives, Eubanks would have had to make a decision on impeachment.
“I still don’t know if his violations rise to the level of an impeachable offense,” Eubanks said, “But if they had, I would have done my duty and voted to impeach.”