Republican candidate ordered off ballot in West Arkansas

A judge says the Republican Party’s nominee for a state House seat in western Arkansas can’t hold the seat because of a bribery conviction, reports the Associated Press.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Collins Kilgore on Wednesday ruled that Tommy Fite was ineligible to hold the District 83 House seat because of a 1984 conviction for aiding and abetting Medicaid bribery. Kilgore ruled that the state Constitution prohibits anyone convicted of bribery from holding office in the state.

Fite is running against Democrat Leslee Milam Post for the seat, which is currently held by Republican Rep. Beverly Pyle. The lawsuit challenging Fite’s candidacy was filed by Crawford County resident Michael W. Grulkey. Grulkey’s attorney, Brian Meadors, says his client is pleased with the ruling.

Fite said in a statement released by the state Republican Party that his lawyer would file an immediate appeal with the state Supreme Court and seek a speedy ruling before next Tuesday’s election. Kilgore’s order prevents election officials from counting any votes for Fite in the Nov. 2 election.

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