August 1, 2003 - Posted at: 3:52 p.m. CDT
JONESBORO, Ark. -- Ending speculation to his possible political future, Craighead County Judge Dale Haas announced Friday that he will seek re-election in 2004.
It had been previously speculated that Haas, a Democrat, would seek the nomination for the District 76 seat in the Arkansas House of Representatives currently held by Rep. Billy Gipson. Gipson is prevented from seeking re-election due to term limits.
Last week, it was reported that members of the state Democratic Party were opposed to a Haas candidacy for the state house. Party chairman Ron Oliver took issue with Haas supporting Sen. Tim Hutchinson in his unsuccessful 2002 reelection race against Democrat Attorney General Mark Pryor.
"I'm outraged at Dale Haas' open support for Republican candidates in the last election," Oliver told KAIT on July 25. "This is something he needs to think over and the voters need to think over as well."
In his announcement Friday, Haas said that he never wanted to leave county government.
"In reality, there was never any real decision to make," Haas said. "I love my job as the County Judge, and feel like I have worked hard to earn the trust and support of our great communities all over Craighead County."
Haas also said that he doesn't need the endorsement of the Democratic Party to win a successful campaign, a campaign that could be a repeat of the last County Judge's race. Today, Jerry Allison, who previously ran against Haas, told K-8 News that he was still keeping his options open in terms of a possible run.
"The margin of victory was minimal, and there have been a lot of broken promises made," said Allison