LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Herb Rule, a lawyer and former Democratic state legislator running for a central Arkansas congressional seat, has been arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated after he was pulled over in Fayetteville.
Rule denied he was drunk and said he planned on fighting the charges.
Rule was released from the Washington County jail early Friday morning on $1,055 bond after he was arrested Thursday night on charges of improper lane use, failure to use signal device, DWI and violation of the implied consent law.
A Fayetteville police officer pulled Rule over after he was seen drifting between lanes and traveling below the posted speed limit, a police report said. Police said in the report that Rule was "verbally unwilling" to cooperate with an officer's instructions after he was pulled over.
"I smelled the odor of intoxicating beverages coming from his person and from the vehicle," the officer wrote in the report. The report said Rule failed a field sobriety test and refused to take a blood alcohol test or sign any paperwork.
Rule, who was scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 27, said he was stopped after having dinner Thursday night with friends and supporters in northwest Arkansas. Rule said he spoke Friday morning at the Association of Arkansas Counties convention in Springdale.
"I was not drunk," Rule said in a statement released by his campaign. "I was in complete control of my faculties. I will fight the charges vigorously and will win. The arrest was without cause and I refused the breathalyzer and blood test as permitted by law."
Rule, 74, is challenging freshman Republican Congressman Tim Griffin for the 2nd District in central Arkansas. He won the Democratic Party's nomination without any opposition. A spokesman for the state Democratic Party said party officials had talked with Rule's campaign, but wanted to talk with Rule directly before commenting on the arrest.
"We need more details on the situation," spokeswoman Candace Martin said.
Griffin's campaign declined to comment on the arrest.
Rule served in the state House of Representatives from 1967 to 1970. He was a Little Rock School Board member from 1976 to 1982.
Rule's arrest is the latest setback for Democrats as they face a potential Republican sweep of the state's Congressional seats. Ken Aden dropped his bid for a northwest Arkansas congressional seat last month after questions were raised about his military record.
Republicans hold three of the state's four Congressional seats.
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Statement from Herb Rule for U.S. Congress
“I was not drunk. I was in complete control of my faculties. I will fight the charges vigorously and will win. The arrest was without cause and I refused the breathalyzer and blood test as permitted by law.”
Rule met in Springdale this morning to speak to the convention of the Arkansas Association of Counties about the need to create more jobs and support better education. He thanked the County officials for their steadfast service in keeping to their budgets and providing incomparable service to the people of Arkansas."