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story.lead_photo.caption Casey Copeland files as a candidate for district judge in Washington County with the aid of Josh Bridges at the state Capitol on Thursday. Copeland’s family is behind him. This is Copeland’s first run for the office. - Photo by Melissa Gerrits

More than 20 candidates made their campaigns official in the state Capitol on Thursday -- roughly the same number as the day before.

Mark West filed as a Libertarian for the U.S. House of Representatives. He will challenge U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, a Republican, in the 1st District.

"I want to show Arkansans that there's a clear difference in how the federal government should be run," West said. "For so many decades, we have been run by a federal government that has exceeded its constitutional authority."

Crawford, along with U.S. Sen. John Boozman and U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, will file Monday morning, according to a news release from the Republican Party of Arkansas. U.S. Rep. French Hill filed Wednesday.

Frank Gilbert, Chris Hayes, Nathan LaFrance, Kerry Hicks and Frank Gilbert -- all Libertarians -- are also seeking U.S. House and Senate seats.

West, 39, said that if elected, he would call for a balanced-budget amendment.

"Because Congress overstepped its authority, we're looking at a mountain of debt for our nation," he said. "There are other options."

He also said compassion and the desire for secure borders need to be balanced to deal with immigration.

"Immigration is an issue we can use to help propel our nation forward instead of continuing to use it to make our country look bigoted and divided," he said.

West said he is a corporate office manager at Mechanical Construction Services in Newark.

A presidential candidate also filed in Arkansas -- albeit one that hasn't been seen on the debate slate.

James Valentine of Miami filed Thursday as a Democratic candidate for president.

Valentine, 58, said he's retired and has worked in a variety of jobs ranging from songwriter to fashion designer.

He said he's drafted his own version of the U.S. Constitution and he's running for president because "I can best implement this constitution after it gets passed."

On Thursday, James McMenis joined the race for Arkansas Court of Appeals judge in District 5. Judicial races are nonpartisan.

He will face Job Serebrov, the head of quality assurance at the state's Department of Human Services, and Mark Klappenbach, who has more than 30 years of law experience in the state, most of which was spent with the Arkansas Public Defender Commission.

McMenis said he spent more than 20 years as a U.S. Department of Defense attorney.

"NFL has their rules and the referees follow those rules," he said. "Well that's what we need in our Arkansas legal system. We need to know what the rules are ... so we don't get surprised by somebody changing the rules in the middle of the game, if you will."

Filing ends Monday. The primary and judicial election is March 1. The general election is N̶o̶v̶.̶ ̶1̶.̶Nov. 8.*

Metro on 11/06/2015

*CORRECTION: The 2016 general election is Nov. 8. An incorrect date was included in this article.

Print Headline: List of candidates filing in state grows

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