Milligan Stepping Down as GOP Chair

Milligan: Out as GOP Chair
Milligan: Out as GOP Chair

Word is that Dennis Milligan, who has served as the chair of the Republican Party of Arkansas since 2007, told party officials today that he will be stepping down from the post.

I’ve poked some fun at Milligan here on the blog, because that’s what I do. But the fact is that he took on a job no one else was willing to take and did a good job with it, helping to deliver Arkansas to John McCain—by nearly 20 points!—and seeing the party pick up seats in the legislature in 2008. Note that both of these achievements occurred in a terrible environment for Republicans nationally. So give the man some credit for a job well done.

Now, after that bizarre and uncharacteristic detour into earnestness, who are the leading candidates to take on the job of GOP chair?

Update: The ever-industrious Jason Tolbert at The Tolbert Report blog chats with Milligan, who tells Tolbert that he’s not “stepping down,” he’s “just not seeking re-election.” I’m so glad he cleared that up with that completely meaningless distinction. Really, it makes me want to take back all those nice things I said.

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24 thoughts on “Milligan Stepping Down as GOP Chair

  • November 8, 2008 at 12:48 pm
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    Anyone but that pro-choicer John Parke.

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  • November 8, 2008 at 12:51 pm
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    Oh no. Here’s comes the will-writing crook.

    Doyle, please stay away.

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  • November 8, 2008 at 1:02 pm
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    The new chair needs to be either from SW Arkansas (or Union County) or NWA. Maybe Fort Smith.

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  • November 8, 2008 at 2:12 pm
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    Why should geographic location matter in picking a chairman? How about we pick someone who represents our views and values and focuses on growing our party here in Arkansas?

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  • November 8, 2008 at 2:29 pm
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    Well stated, Brett. How about someone who can raise tons of money and recruit good candidates?
    D.

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  • November 8, 2008 at 2:30 pm
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    You’re right David. That should have been included in my criteria.

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  • November 8, 2008 at 2:55 pm
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    Carlton Saffa would make an excellent party chairman.

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  • November 8, 2008 at 3:12 pm
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    Not qualified. Not interested. Thanks though.

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  • November 8, 2008 at 4:29 pm
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    Well stated Brett.

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  • November 8, 2008 at 6:59 pm
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    Rumor has it that Mississippi County Republican Chair Tyler Dunegan will run for the seat. According to their website, he was elected in 2005 at the age of 21.

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  • November 8, 2008 at 7:14 pm
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    “The Insider” needs to re-check his sources.

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  • November 8, 2008 at 10:40 pm
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    I vote to exclude from consideration anyone living in Pulaski County, Saline County, or Benton County — Pulaski and Saline because the leading Republicans in both are extremely skilled at fighting intra-party wars but largely incompetent at real world politics, and Benton because no one in that county has any clue what life is like in the rest of the state. Not that I want to sound obnoxious, but facts is facts.

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  • November 9, 2008 at 1:16 am
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    Source rechecked – Seems to be true.

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  • November 9, 2008 at 7:26 am
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    Jake Files in Fort Smith is definitely interested in the position.

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  • November 9, 2008 at 9:44 am
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    Joseph Wood is my choice

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  • November 9, 2008 at 2:40 pm
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    I second your motion, Nope.

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  • November 9, 2008 at 3:23 pm
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    And they circle and circle! Each one throwing out their buddy’s names to be chairman.

    No offense to the folks that suggested that Josh Hutchinson, Jake Files and Carlton Saffa be chair, while I respect all of these individuals and think they bring many qualities, you seem to not understand what the point of the chairman’s job is…raise money and find candidates. The best fund raisers are rich people that run around with other rich people and can call in favors. While Josh, Jake and Carlton are great guys, they are not rich.

    We need someone that has wealth, has contacts in business and is well respected in the philanthropic communitiy, not just someone that happens to have done some volunteer work for the party or has connections to the party.

    The lower level executive positions can be filled with your younger activist types, people that will do more than show up at state committee meetings. Draft young people for those positions, but make the chairman someone that is well off and well connected.

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  • November 9, 2008 at 3:38 pm
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    Rex,
    I just ran your list of criteria through the Arkansas Project mainframe computer and it came back with the name of the perfect chairman: David Pryor. Hmm, I think this thing may be on the fritz.
    D.

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  • November 10, 2008 at 1:04 pm
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    I hear Tyler Dunegan is going to announce by the end of the week. I was told he has a large list of endorsements and supporters that he will be mailing out to state committee members.

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  • November 17, 2009 at 1:19 am
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    Oh, brother! “Observer” needs to check his or her unhelpful regional resentments and petty jealousies at the door. Many people in NWA have strong ties to the rest of the state and do have a clue. In my own case, my father was an editor at the PB Commercial, my grandfather was postmaster at Des Arc, the family church on my Dad’s side of the family is Immanuel Baptist in LR. George Purvis was my uncle (if that name is unfamiliar, you are either young or a newbie to the state). My uncle Glen Edgmon, from Harrison, was twice president of Ark Cattlemen’s Assn. I grew up in Pine Bluff, Little Rock, Gaither (outside Harrison), Ft. Smith, Memphis, Waldenburg (where I will be eating Thanksgiving Dinner next week), Greer’s Ferry, Rogers and Russellville. Heard the PB Band when Watson was still the director. Attended Camp Orr. Graduated Arkansas Tech (one of Gene Witherspoon’s students). For awhile I was step son of John H. Neal (he and my Mom were introduced by State Senator Knox Nelson). Ate at the Shack back in the day. And I was at the 1969 shoot-out. Listened to the Louisianna Hayride as a tyke. Rice is a staple in my diet, and I know how rough the water situation is for farmers in the east part of the state. Cardinals fan. Listened to the games on the radio as a little kid. Harry Carey was the announcer for the Cards back then. It was nap time, and to this day if I hear anyone in the Carey clan announce, I fall asleep. Prefer duck to turkey. Fly-fish the Little Red. Stayed at the Marion Hotel. Know firsthand that the best Reubens are at Oaklawn. Slopped hogs, broke pond ice, bucked hay bales, hunted squirrels as a grade schooler. Tal Bonham was my pastor in PB. Played as a kid with the Gathright kids across the street. Know that no matter what those idiots in the Ledge say, the official cooking implement of the State is the iron skillet. And once in a Hong Kong elevator I met an Arkansas cousin. They’re everywhere.

    That Arkie enough for you?

    And I’m not the only one up here. As for the newbies up here, they might have something to offer if you would let them.

    The two major Civil War battles of the State were fought in NWA, partly because of this kind of regionalism, and in the late 50s, early 60s Dad wrote an editorial for the Commercial about how wrong the anti-NWA feelings were then. It’s insane that it continues today. Enough already.

    If you can’t get over yourself and accept that NWA is part of Arkansas and has something to offer, then go back to reading *A Painted House* and let the rest of us work together.

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  • November 17, 2009 at 1:21 am
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    Correction: George was my cousin. Sorry — my typing was faster than my brain (and I’m a slow typist).

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