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      Ark. gov. OKs bill to keep Lt. Gov. office vacant

      LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A spokesman says Gov. Mike Beebe won't call a special election to replace Lt. Gov. Mark Darr after signing legislation aimed at keeping the state's No. 2 constitutional office vacant for the rest of the year.

      Beebe on Friday signed into law legislation that gave him the discretion to not call a special election to replace Darr, who resigned Feb. 1 over ethics violations tied to his office and campaign spending. The measure given final legislative approval Thursday gave the governor the authority not to call a special election for the lieutenant governor's position, if a vacancy is within 10 months of the November general election.

      Lawmakers had said a special election was too costly and unnecessary just to fill the lieutenant governor's post for a few months.

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