A footnote to our earlier report on the election of the new Republican Party of Arkansas chairman: Word is that a select group of GOP activists, leaders and party regulars made their way to Little Rock’s tony Heights neighborhood after the state party meeting on Saturday, Dec. 13, for a special meeting with one Layne Provine, a Tennessee-based political strategist and direct mail guru. (Here’s his consulting firm’s website.)
Hosted at the home of investment banker Rick Calhoun, Provine gave a short presentation on what Republicans in Tennessee did to capture both houses of the state legislature this year for the first time since 1869—a feat engineered by Provine himself. Lots of focus on candidate recruitment, polling, direct mail strategies, fundraising, voter ID and more.
About 25 people reportedly attended, including freshly minted GOP chair Doyle Webb, Asa Hutchinson, Sen. Gilbert Baker, Kelly Eichler, Jim Burnett, Rita Hamilton, Carlton Saffa and a variety of GOP lawmakers and soon-to-be lawmakers, including Bryan King, Dan Greenberg, Davy Carter, Jonathan Dismang, Jane English and others. A real who’s who of Arkansas Republicans.
Reports from a couple of attendees note that the discussion was “substantive and upbeat,” though one attendee questioned how “transferable” the lessons of Tennessee would be to Arkansas, given the pressures of term limits and the very different legislative environment.
If I can shake out more specific info, I’ll update—but at the very least it indicates that some Arkansas Republicans may be thinking more strategically about running campaigns and winning elections. Hey, at least they’re talking to someone who’s WON something. That’s a start.