by Tyler Hale
November 12 should have been a momentous occasion for the Democratic Party of Arkansas. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg flew into Arkansas to personally sign his paperwork to be on the presidential ballot in Arkansas, and then state representative Joyce Elliott threw her hat in the ring to run against U.S. Rep. French Hill. By all accounts, it was a banner day.
Hours after the filing period closed on November 12, the Democratic Party of Arkansas’ (DPA) candidate for U.S. Senate, Josh Mahony, dropped out, citing family health reasons.
In the wake of Mahony’s withdrawal, DPA officials began assessing its options. DPA Chairman Michael John Gray announced today that the party will not be able to field a candidate for the Senate seat. In a statement provided by the party, Gray said that the necessary evidence the DPA would require to replace Mahony has not been provided.
“After exhaustive and careful examination with our legal counsel and our party leaders and without additional information from Mr. Mahony, the Democratic Party of Arkansas will not be able to field a candidate for United States Senate,” Gray said in a statement. “The narrow legal window to replace Mr. Mahony as our nominee would require evidence that has not been provided to us publicly or privately. But Arkansas Democrats aren’t discouraged. There are top tier candidates in competitive state legislative and congressional races all across the state. Voters are ready to make a difference and make Arkansas a better place.”
According to a DPA release, Mahony was contacted on Friday, Nov. 15 and asked to meet with party officials “to gain greater insight into the reason for Mahony’s withdrawal,” and he reportedly agreed.
Mahony’s legal representative Mark Henry of Rose Law Firm sent the DPA a letter that same day, saying that Mahony had reached out to Democratic Party members but his attempts to contact them had “not been successful.” Henry wrote that Mahony did not want the party to misinterpret that Mahony was the individual having the “personal health crisis. Henry advised the party to direct all communications to him.
See the full letter here.
On Monday, Nov. 18, Mahony reportedly did not attend the scheduled meeting with the DPA officials. Afterwards, the DPA reports that it sent a letter to Henry requesting additional information on Mahony’s family health issues but received no response.
Arkansas Money & Politics has reached out to the DPA for comment. This story will be updated.
Images of Michael John Gray courtesy of DPA.