Senate to Consider Disputed East Arkansas Run-off Race Next Month

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The full Senate will consider June 12 whether a lawmaker should help keep his seat despite a panel's report that his runoff victory was marred by "flagrant" fraud and irregularities, a Senate panel chairman said today.

The Senate Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee will present its recommendations to the full chamber that Sen. Jack Crumbly keep his seat despite a unanimous agreement that fraud existed in the election, said Sen. Steve Farris, the panel's chairman.

The panel also recommended in its nonbinding report last month that federal prosecutors, state police and the state's election commission investigate reports of ballot fraud and voting problems in Crumbly's victory over former state Rep. Arnell Willis in the 2006 Democratic primary runoff.

Crumbly, D-Widener, won the race by 68 votes.  Willis was initially declared the winner but Crumbly was declared the winner after a recount.

Removing a sitting senator requires a two-thirds vote of the 35-member Senate.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)