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Little Rock attorney switches parties in AG race

Davis will run as Democrat by Michael R. Wickline | May 4, 2021 at 7:04 a.m.
FILE — 'I Voted' stickers for early voters at the Benton County Election Commission office in Rogers in this Nov. 3, 2018, file photo.

Attorney Jason Davis of Little Rock, a former Republican, will seek the Democratic nomination for attorney general next year, he announced Monday.

He is the third candidate to announce hopes of succeeding term-limited Republican Attorney General Leslie Rutledge of Maumelle, who has held the job since 2015. In July, Rutledge announced that she is running for the GOP nomination for governor next year.

Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin of Little Rock and former Arkansas Fair Housing Commission Executive Director Leon Jones of Little Rock have announced their bids for the Republican nomination for attorney general in 2022.

Attorney Jessie Gibson of Little Rock said Monday that he is considering running for the Democratic nomination for attorney general next year, and he expects to make a decision within two weeks.

The filing period for candidates for state and federal offices in Arkansas is Feb. 22-March 1, 2022, with the primary election on May 24, according to the secretary of state's office.

The attorney general's salary is $142,092 a year.

Davis, 34, is a member of the Davis Firm, which focuses on small business law, family law, estate planning, appeals and bankruptcy, according to a news release from his campaign.

He was home-schooled, is a 2017 graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law and served on the Pulaski County Election Commission in 2018. He is married, and the couple has three children and attends Fellowship Bible Church.

Davis said he became leery of the Republican Party's direction with the rise of the tea party in 2009.

He said he decided to become a Democrat after Rutledge joined forces with some other Republican attorneys general and some congressmen to try to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in other states.

Rutledge signed onto a friend of the court brief, adding Arkansas to a list of 17 states siding with Texas' lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's losses in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia. U.S. Reps. Rick Crawford of Jonesboro and Bruce Westerman of Hot Springs signed on to a separate brief urging judicial intervention, joining U.S. House Republican Kevin McCarthy of California and more than 120 other House Republicans.

On Dec. 11, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, saying Texas lacked standing to file the suit under Article III of the U.S. Constitution.

Davis voted in the Republican primaries in 2014, 2016 and 2018, according to records in the secretary of state's office.

He said in his news release: "The leaders at the very top have focused too much on national politics, moneyed interests and the will of party leaders, too often shunning the needs and issues facing Arkansans.

"It's time for us to change that," Davis said.

He said Arkansans deserve an attorney general who will go to work for them every single day, combating voter suppression efforts, ensuring equal application of the law, working to end the state's opioid crisis, and protecting Arkansas' small businesses, workers and consumers from outside interest and scammers.

"Our state simply can't afford more hyper-partisan drama, wasting millions more in taxpayer dollars on constant, warranted challenges to the constitutionality of our state's actions," Davis said.

"The people need a lawyer and it's time we had an Attorney General who will put the people's business first. We have gone without that for too long."

He said he looks forward to using his campaign to build up the Democratic Party in Arkansas and curb political extremism.

Information for this article was contributed by Frank Lockwood of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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