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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Arkansas Republican Party Executive Director Rumors

Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News: Jason Tolbert, The Tolbert Report keeps us to date on rumors in Little Rock. Lately, he has been "sniffing out" who might just be the next Executive Director for the Republican Party of Arkansas (RPA). Before proceeding, let me "ditto" a comment expressed by Tolbert regarding outside influence on filling the position:
We do not need someone coming in here to tell Arkansas what the national party wants us to do, to say, and to think. If our party is going to succeed and build on the gains from 2008, then we have to get back to a grassroots bottom up approach to the way we do things. We have to recruit quality conservative candidates to run for local and state offices and then provide them with the resources to run a strong campaign. We do not need a satellite office of the RNC. If we do that, we might as well wave our white flags and surrender to the Democrats because we will quickly lose any and all relevance.
It has been rumored that RPA Chairman Doyle Webb may himself become more full time and take an active roll in directing office operations of the Republican Party. Webb has proven experience as the Chief of Staff for Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller. He needs an upbeat, aggressive, and talented RPA office staff capable of using existing technology to both advance and promote the Republican message and incorporate and give others within Arkansas the opportunity to be involved. They staff need to understand and use the benefits of Web 2.0 and social networking and reach out to the Republican conservatives who use and are skilled building groups and networks within Arkansas and their communities.

While we need Chairman Webb in the field carrying the Republican message throughout Arkansas to the grassroots team, his greater involvement with the RPA staff could raise the bar for the future that would setting a legacy for the future. A lot of us outside of Little Rock are both pulling for him and are willing to help.

Regardless, of Webb's leadership choice, the RPA need either an Executive Director or Chief of Staff to direct the office staff and operations. That person needs to understand and be able to coordinate and implement the use of new technology while not stepping on the growing grassroots effort in Arkansas. It needs to be person without a condescending or arrogant attitude. The RPA needs to repair quickly a lot of GOP bridges across the state and to restore trust. The threat always exists for those working and living in the Little Rock area to become myopic and to forget that the real work of building the party rests with the grassroots efforts in the counties of Arkansas' four Congressional Districts.

The former RPA chair and outgoing executive director has not led the RPA staff to be active in working well with the growing conservative grassroots in Arkansas. The RPA has not teamed up with new media conservative activists who are active in Web 2.0 social networking via FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Ning groups, Google groups and more. The result is an expanding conservative network outside of the RPA. This same situation has been debated as a central issue prior to the selection of our Republican National Committee Chair. Chairman Michael Steele has reached out and working to build the needed coalitions for future success and recognizes that the work is at the grassroots. Maybe the motto of the year for the RPA should be "It is easier to fan a flame than to get the flame started."

The RPA executive committee will meet on March 21 to begin the process of searching for a new director. Here are few of the rumored candidates identified by Tolbert. The first is David Kinkade, the principal Arkansas Project contributor, is a freelance writer in Little Rock. A former reporter for the Northwest Arkansas Times, he served as speechwriter to U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the Department of Homeland Security. He also served as director of communications on Asa Hutchinson’s 2006 campaign for governor.

The next is the current RPA Chief of Staff Staci Cates - Although not much of a blogger, Cates has done actual real work for the Party since 2005 which is likely to carry more weight with the executive committee.

Former communications director for Gov. Huckabee, Rex Nelson may also be waiting in the wings. With his soon Obama mandated departure from the Delta Regional Authority, he will be looking for something new.

RPA political director Chase Dugger (not related to Jim Bob) is considered to be a favorite of most Republican state legislators. Dugger is relatively new to the RPA office but is considered to be a young rising star among Arkansas Republicans. Chase has worked effectively supporting Republican campaigns even when he knew the campaign would not win. The political director position is the same position Clint Reed came from when he was hired as executive director.

We can all dream right! Princella Smith (view her handling of the media at her website) is another Arkansas Republican gone to Washington name being tossed around. She is a guest lecturer on the topics of “New Media” and “Grassroots Activism” at The Leadership Institute, an organization founded by Morton Blackwell committed to identifying, recruiting, training and placing conservatives in the public policy process. Princella is a regular political contributor and has been featured and/or written for several national media outlets including FOX News, FOX Business News, CNN, CBS, MSNBC, Bloomberg News, France 24, EuroAmerican News, Danish Broadcasting, NPR, the New York Times, USA Today, XM Satellite Radio, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, Essence Magazine, YouTube News, XM Radio, Armstrong Williams Show, AOL Radio/TV, Black America Web, RocktheVote.com, Daily Kos , Futuremajority.com, Huffington Post, and several local press/media outlets among others. She loves both Arkansas and the political process and advancing Republican values. Smith is a graduate of Wynne High School and Ouachita Baptist University. She currently serves as a Chief Advocate for Newt Gingrich’s group American Solutions. Smith’s speech on behalf of American Solutions was one of the highlights of the Arkansas State Republican Convention this past summer. Plus, as a former campaign employee for RNC Chairman Michael Steele she may have just the right blend of Arkansas ties and beltway connections to land the job - if she wants it.

bryantadamsArkansas Republican Bryant Adams (twitter account) from DeWitt may get a look by the RPA Executive Committee. Adams has an extensive resume in his young career with the party. He has worked here in Arkansas during the Bush/Cheney 2004 Campaign and he has also worked for the Republican National Committee, the Colorado Republican Party, and the Department of Homeland Security. Adams was rumored to be considered for the job back in 2007 when Ray was hired due to influence by the White House staff. Adams indicated that he would be flattered to be considered for such an important job, because "I am passionate about fighting for things like lower taxes, less regulation, and more transparency in government. If the RPA’s central committee felt that I was the right person to lead the organization along with Chairman Webb, I would strongly consider it.”

Another name that has emerged is fellow conservative Republican blogger Kenneth" Ryan" James. James serves as the Arkansas Republicans eyes and ears inside Washington, where he works as a political consultant. Ryan served previously as the Deputy Director of Communication for the 2008 Republican National Convention and before that as Director of Communication for Arkansas Congressman John Boozman. At Boozman office, he established an open door to the New Media in Arkansas which has not been matched since he left that position. James has said, “There is a real opportunity for the Republican Party to continue its growth in the state and become the true home for conservatives in Arkansas and I would consider myself fortunate to work with Chairman Webb in order to accomplish this. As a state, we resoundingly rejected the liberal plans of Barack Obama. We must hold accountable those from the other side who campaign as conservatives yet vote according to their liberal masters while in office. Moving forward, we must continue to offer new ideas and solutions in order to be true alternative for conservative Arkansans.”

Tags: Chase Dugger, Doyle Webb, Republican Party of Arkansas, RPA, rumors, Staci Cates To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 2:57 PM - Post Link

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