Unable to use his military title on the ballot four years ago, a retired Army colonel running for Congress in Arkansas has found a simple way around a state law that prohibits him from displaying the designation as a candidate.
He legally changed his name to Colonel.
State election officials say that Conrad Reynolds, one of three Republicans running for central Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District, can include his military title on the ballot now that he’s legally changed his name. A Faulkner County judge last month granted Reynolds’ request to change his name to “Colonel Conrad Earl Reynolds.”
Reynolds said he had long wanted to change his name, which was originally Conald Earl Reynolds, and said he decided to include the military title. Reynolds said the name change wasn’t related to his bid for Congress.
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“There are a bunch of people who know me as Colonel. They don’t know me as Conrad,” Reynolds said.
When he ran for the U.S. Senate four years ago, Reynolds tried unsuccessfully to include “Colonel” as a nickname on the ballot.
Under state law, already-elected officials can use their titles on the ballot. People seeking office can use a nickname – and many do when no one can recollect their given names. But the law prohibits professional or honorary titles from being used as nicknames.
“Before, he had it as a title he had. In order to use that title, you have to be elected to that title here in Arkansas,” Secretary of State’s office spokesman Alex Reed said.
Reynolds filed paperwork Monday to run for the 2nd Congressional District seat that’s being vacated by Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin. State Rep. Ann Clemmer and Little Rock banking executive French Hill are also seeking the GOP nomination for the seat. Former North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays is the only Democrat running.
Griffin is seeking the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor.
Reynolds isn’t the only candidate who could benefit from a name change. Elvis D. Presley, a singer running for state land commissioner as a Libertarian, legally changed his name in honor of the King of Rock `n' Roll in 2006.