In­man again will seek sec­re­tary of state post

Demo­crat lost in 2014; Martin term-lim­ited in ’18

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - JOHN MORITZ

In­man said she will talk in her cam­paign about en­sur­ing that Arkansas’ ear­lyvot­ing pe­riod isn’t short­ened or stripped of vot­ing lo­ca­tions.

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.

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