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GOP hopefuls to pay '12 fees in '16 primary

Spot on presidential ballot costs $25,000 in Arkansas by Michael R. Wickline | July 24, 2015 at 4:42 a.m.

The Republican Party of Arkansas will charge presidential candidates $25,000 each to appear on its March 1 primary ballot, the same fee it charged in 2012, a party spokesman said.

Four Republican presidential candidates appeared on the Arkansas ballot that year; this time, 16 Republicans have announced plans to run. If they all file in Arkansas, the presidential fees alone would equal $400,000.

Candidates for lower offices would pay between $3,000 and $20,000 in filing fees.

Despite the larger presidential field, Chairman Doyle Webb expects the state party to raise a "similar" amount in filing fees in 2016 as in the past two election cycles, "depending on the number of candidates filing," said Isaac Foley, the party's political director.

The party raised about $650,000 in filing fees in 2012 and again in 2014, he said.

At Saturday's Republican state committee meeting, officials voted to keep the same filing fees that were in place for other candidates in 2014, Foley said.

The candidate fees will be:

• $20,000 for U.S. Senate

• $15,000 for U.S. House of Representatives

• $7,500 for state Senate

• $3,000 for state House of Representatives

Republican candidates may file from noon Nov. 2 until noon Nov. 9 at the state Capitol, according to the secretary of state's office.

The filing period is about four months earlier than usual because Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson in May signed into law a bill moving the state's 2016 primary elections from May 24 to March 1. The shift will allow Arkansas to participate with several other Southern states in what the move's supporters called the SEC presidential primary. Other states that plan to have a March 1 primary are Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia.

The SEC is the Southeastern Conference, an intercollegiate athletic conference that includes schools in 11 Southern states.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Republican, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a Democrat and former Arkansas first lady, have announced bids for their respective parties' presidential nominations in 2016. They both ran unsuccessfully in 2008.

The Democratic Party's filing fees for 2016 are yet to be determined.

Candace Martin, executive director of the Democratic Party of Arkansas, said the state committee will decide the amounts when it meets Aug. 15.

In 2014, the Democrats' filing fees were $12,000 for U.S. Senate, $10,000 for the U.S. House, $4,500 for state Senate and $3,500 for state House of Representatives. The party's presidential filing fee was $2,500 in 2012, when two candidates ran for the Democratic nomination.

Martin said Thursday that she didn't have information available about how much the party collected in filing fees in 2012 and 2014.

The state Democratic Party had collected about $625,00 in filing fees in 2010, but about $125,000 of that was filing fees for prosecuting attorney candidates who no longer pay a partisan filing fee, Martin said last year.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman, a Republican from Rogers, and the state's four Republican congressmen -- U.S. Reps. Steve Womack of Rogers, Rick Crawford of Jonesboro, Bruce Westerman of Hot Springs and French Hill of Little Rock -- are each seeking re-election in 2016.

All 100 seats in the state House of Representatives and 17 of 35 seats in the state Senate also are up for grabs next year.

The state House has 63 Republicans, 36 Democrats and one independent. The Senate is composed of 24 Republicans and 11 Democrats. Eleven of the Senate seats up for grabs in 2016 are held by Republicans and the other six are held by Democrats.

Metro on 07/24/2015

Print Headline: GOP hopefuls to pay '12 fees in '16 primary


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