by Max Brantley
Sen. Gilbert Baker says he's stepping down as Arkansas Republican chairman and that an election for a new chairman will be held soon.
News release on the jump.
UPDATE: One prediction for new chair: Dennis Milligan, the current party treasurer. He enjoys support from several bigwigs.
REPUBLICAN PARTY OF ARKANSAS
State Senator Gilbert Baker (R-Conway) announced today that he will be stepping down as Chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas (RPA) upon the election of a new Chairman. Baker said, “I was always committed to one term as Chairman to help complete the reforms relating to finances and party rules begun by the late Win Rockefeller”.
Baker was elected Chairman December 5, 2005, and followed the late Lieutenant Governor Rockefeller, in that position. Baker was elected to the Arkansas State Senate in the fall of 2000 and is currently serving in his seventh year. Prior to his election, Baker served as a teacher, academic advisor and administrator at the University of Central Arkansas, where he worked for more than 22 years. Baker serves actively on Senate committees such as State Agencies, Joint Budget and Education. He is also chair of the Senate Children and Youth Committee.
During Baker’s tenure as Chairman, the RPA saw contributions of over 2.5 million dollars, volunteer contacts of one million individuals and registered ten thousand new voters.
According to Baker, “Following the 2006 election cycle, I was asked by many to stay on for continuity and to help provide stability during a very challenging time for the RPA. The party will now be better served by someone who can give more time and energy to the organization. I believe there are individuals, willing and qualified, to lead our Party successfully through the 2008 election cycle. With our new Executive Director, Karen Ray, coming on board May 1, we are in a good position organizationally to make this change.”
Karen Ray was hired by the RPA Executive Committee at a meeting, March 17, 2007. Ray currently serves in the Bush Administration as the Confidential Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security. Previously, Ray has served at the Department of Labor and on the 55th Presidential Inaugural Committee. In 2004, Ray served as the Central Arkansas Field Director for the Republican National Committee Coordinated Campaign, Arkansas Leadership Committee. Ray is a native of Mississippi and is a graduate of Mississippi College in Clinton, MS.
A special election for the Chairman of the RPA will be called in the next few weeks.