Inman again to seek state post
Democrat lost in 2014; Martin will be term-limited in 2018
Little Rock Democrat Susan Inman, who attempted to unseat Secretary of State Mark Martin in 2014, announced Tuesday she’ll again run for the seat in an open election next year.
Martin, a Republican, is term-limited in 2018. The race to replace him now includes four announced candidates, a pair each of Republicans and Democrats.
Inman is an election official who has worked under former Secretary of State Sharon Priest and as a county and state election commissioner.
In the Democratic primary, she’ll compete against Anthony Bland, 39, a media technician for the Little Rock School District.
Inman told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in a phone interview Tuesday that she was concerned by what she described as Republican attempts to “purge” voter rolls.
Inman said she will talk in her campaign about ensuring that Arkansas’ early-voting period isn’t shortened or stripped of voting locations.
She also said she was concerned that a new law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls — or sign a sworn statement to confirm their identity — could discourage voter participation.
Passed by the Legislature earlier this year, the voter ID law is taking effect for the first time this week in special elections being held in several cities and counties, including North Little Rock.
“I’m watching it, paying close attention to the special election [in North Little Rock],” Inman said.
Asked about Martin’s tenure in office, Inman said she “didn’t want to revisit the past.” But she did offer that she would have rebuffed a request from President Donald Trump’s commission investigating voter fraud for data about Arkansas’ voters.
Martin’s office announced in early July that it would release some of the data, including names, addresses, birth dates, party affiliation, email addresses and phone numbers.
That’s the same data the office provides in response to Arkansas Freedom of Information Act requests regarding voter rolls, a spokesman said.
Inman said she would have waited for the federal commission to file a request under the public-records law before providing whatever data is required under the transparency law.
Bland, her Democratic primary rival, could not be reached Tuesday.
The two Republicans running for the GOP nomination are state Rep. Trevor Drown of Dover and Land Commissioner John Thurston of Little Rock.
During the 2014 general election, Martin took 60 percent of the vote while defeating Inman in his re-election bid. Inman said Tuesday that she expects a difficult campaign ahead and plans to focus on her experience with elections-related work when reaching out to voters.
According to a press release from her campaign consultant, Michael Cook, Inman “monitored and observed” elections in Eastern Europe and Central Asia for the U.S. State Department.
She was married to the late George Inman Sr. and has two sons. Neither Inman nor Bland has filed a first campaign-finance report with the secretary of state’s office.
On the Republican side, Drown reported raising $21,652 dollars in June, the first month of his campaign.
Thurston reported raising a total of $23,350 over the year but had slightly less cash on hand to end June.
The secretary of state job comes with a $90,000 annual salary and a four-year term.