State Rep. Hudson Hallum (D-Marion) today resigned his House seat and withdrew as a candidate in the 2012 election after entering a guilty plea on a federal charge related to his 2011 special election. Hudson, 29, was mired in some controversy after winning a high number of absentee ballots in his 2011 special election race. In February 2012, Talk Business blogger Jason Tolbert reported that the FBI had subpoenaed election officials from Crittenden County to appear before a grand jury. At the time, Hallum said he had no knowledge of the investigation. Hallum’s resignation from the House District 54 seat coincided with an appearance today in U.S. District Court where he entered a plea of guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit election fraud. His father, Kent Hallum, West Memphis City Council member Phillip Carter, and Crittenden County quorum court member Sam Malone also plead guilty to charges.
Hallum said he has accepted full responsibility and is cooperating with federal authorities. “I have always felt a calling for public service,” Hallum said. “I ran for office because I simply thought it was another opportunity to serve the public. While I ran for office for all the right reasons, in order to win the election, I made awful decisions. Going forward, I am committed to demonstrating to my community, and to my family, how very much I regret this serious mistake.”
U.S. Attorney Jane Duke said the charges are the first known use of the Travel Act to bring charges for “vote-buying” in a purely local election. “In a nation in which every person’s vote matters, protecting the integrity of the electoral process from those who seek to win office by cheating the system is critical,” Duke said. “Vote fraud schemes such as that carried out in the 2011 District 54 race have the devastating effect of eroding public confidence in elected officials and disenfranchising voters,” she added.