Huckabee Cannot Appoint to Fill Rest of Rockefeller's Term

JULY 17, 2006 - Posted at 7:51 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - If anyone takes the late Win Rockefeller's place as lieutenant governor before the current term expires in January, it will have to be by special election.  Under the Arkansas constitution, Governor Huckabee cannot appoint anyone to fill the six months remaining in the term of Rockefeller, who died Sunday at age 57.

Amendment 29 to the constitution includes a provision for appointing people to fill unexpired terms for the U.S. Senate and all state, district, circuit, county and township offices, but not for lieutenant governor and state House and Senate seats.

Huckabee did not say yesterday if he would call a special election to fill the vacancy.  He said his immediate attention was on lending comfort to the Rockefeller family and to fellow Arkansans for their loss.

Under Amendment Six, the president of the Senate, currently Jim Argue of Little Rock, a Democrat, will take over most of the governor's duties when Huckabee is out-of-state with the lieutenant governor's post vacant.  If both Huckabee and Argue are absent, those duties fall to the Speaker of the House, currently Bill Stovall of Quitman.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)