Ex-Globetrotter wins Arkansas office

Perhaps they can tweak "Sweet Georgia Brown" to "Sweet Arkansas Green."

Former Harlem Globetrotters player Fred Smith did in the political arena what the Globetrotters always do on the basketball court — win. Smith won a seat in the Arkansas state legislature on Tuesday as a member of the Green Party.

Democratic candidate Hudson Hallum played the part of the Washington Generals in this political game. Smith won a court ruling on Tuesday that disqualified Hallum for a felony conviction, voiding any votes he received to represent the 50th District in the state House. So Smith won in a walkover.

In September, Hallum pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit voter fraud. Hallum and three others admitted to a manipulating absentee ballots in 2011, when Hallum won a special election to the state House. Hallum resigned his office, but his name remained on the printed ballots.

Judge Mary McGowan ordered on Tuesday that no votes for Hallum be certified, The Associated Press reported. That made Smith a winner by default and spared Arkansas voters the possibility of another special election to fill the seat had Hallum won again Tuesday.

All this comes after Smith had his own political/criminal scandal.

Previously a member of the state House, he resigned his office after being convicted in 2011 of theft of property delivered by mistake. But a judge in May dismissed the conviction, which enabled Smith to run again. Previously a Democrat, he ran this time under the Green Party flag. He had been blocked from the Democratic primary because the theft had not yet been cleared from his record.

No Republicans ran in the heavily Democratic district.

Smith, who played college basketball at Oral Roberts, was billed as Fred "Preacher" Smith in his Globetrotters career. In 1997, The Associated Press reported that he set a world record with a dunk on a rim 11 feet, 11 inches high in Birmingham, England. The record was certified by Guinness record book officials, the report said.

Former NFL lineman Jon Runyan was the the highest-profile political victor from the sports world on Tuesday. A Republican, he won a second term in the US House of Representatives from the New Jersey’s 3rd District, defeating Shelley Adler 53 percent to 45 percent.

Three former athletes were defeated in their bids to become freshman congressmen. Former NFL player Jimmy Farris (D-Idaho), former UNLV basketball player Danny Tarkanian (R-Nev.) and former Florida A&M basketball player Al Lawson (D-Fla.) all came up short.