Just a few minutes ago, Conrad Reynolds filed to run for Congress. I guess it would be more precise to say: Colonel Conrad Reynolds filed to run for Congress. Apparently, he has officially changed his name to “Colonel Conrad Reynolds,” and that name will appear on Republican ballots in the Second Congressional District.
Why? Presumably because voters are more likely to vote for candidates with titles. I imagine that’s why his opponent, Rep. Ann Clemmer, specified her legislative affiliation on the ballot. Although a candidate is allowed to use his or her elected-official title on the ballot, a candidate is not allowed to use his or her military rank there. But Reynolds isn’t doing that: to repeat, he has officially changed his first name to “Colonel.”
Is he allowed to do that? Sure. You can change your name to just about anything you want in Arkansas — as long as you’re not doing it for a fraudulent purpose — and you have every right to run for office under your new name. It is a simple process to change your name in Arkansas; essentially, all you have to do is appear before a judge and request permission. I can’t see how changing your first name to Colonel is in any way fraudulent — especially if you really are, or really have been, a colonel.
I think Reynolds’s name change is a little weird, but I also think it’s a little brilliant. If you’re the kind of person who thinks that a military resume serves as a good preparation for Congress, I suppose you might be more likely to vote for Colonel Conrad Reynolds. I doubt it will move that many votes in the Republican primary, but I’ve been wrong before.
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