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Arkansas U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin is running for lieutenant governor

Griffin, who announced in October that he was leaving Congress, enters a crowded GOP primary

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

arkansas mugLITTLE ROCK (CFP) — Less than four months after announcing he would leave Congress to spend more time with his family, U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin has entered the lieutenant governor’s race back home in Arkansas.

U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin

U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin

In interviews with local Little Rock media February 13, Griffin said serving as lieutenant governor would allow him to remain with his young children in Arkansas rather than living in Washington.

The state’s number two spot would also set up Griffin for a potential run for governor in 2018.

Griffin, a former U.S. Attorney and aide to Karl Rove in the Bush White House, won his seat in the Republican landslide in 2010 and easily won re-election in 2012. His decision not to seek a third term in the House – at a time when he had $500,000 in campaign cash on hand — surprised the Arkansas political establishment.

His entry into the lieutenant governor’s race has already shaken up the GOP prmary, with one of the announced candidates, State Rep. Charlie Collins, exiting the race. Still in the running are State Reps. Andy Mayberry and Debra Hobbs.

Hobbs had been running for governor but announced February 12 that she would run for lieutenant governor instead.

On the Democratic side, John Burkhalter, a state highway commissioner, is the only announced candidate and has been endorsed by the likely Democractic candidate for governor, former U.S. Rep. Mike Ross.

The lieutenant governor’s office is currently vacant after Republican Mark Darr resigned rather than face likely impeachment for ethics violations. The state legislature is currently considering a bill to leave the office vacant until after the November election, rather than calling a special election to replace Darr.

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