A feisty media advisory arrived from the Republican Party of Arkansas stating the following:
Senator Gilbert Baker will hold a news conference today at 3:00 pm at the Faulkner County Republican Headquarters, 802 Front St to respond to an illegal political attack launched by his opponents today.
Baker will respond point by point to the misleading and false accusations.
“Illegal political attacks”? “Misleading and false accusations”? And here I was bemoaning the lack of drama in this year’s Arkansas political races.
The Arkansas Project would cover this news conference, but it’s in Faulkner County, which is a little far for me to go. If they did something closer to Arkansas Project World Headquarters—say, at the end of my driveway—I’d be all over it.
Baker faces Democratic challenger Joe White in his bid to hold the District 30 Senate seat. Earlier in the week, The Arkansas Project looked at ads the two candidates are running in this heated race.
Arkansas Project sources indicate that Baker is responding to a mail piece sent out by (or perhaps on behalf of) White, with the following text (it was sent to me in an e-mail, so I don’t yet have a copy of the original):
Senator Gilbert Baker directed $558,000 to the University of Central Arkansas and ZERO went to Faulkner County. Did personal favors have anything to do with this transaction?
Senator Baker’s son, a UCA Student, received special treatment for his university housing. Former President Lu Hardin admitted that Baker’s son received his housing because of “contacts” and “greater access.”
Senator Gilbert Baker used public property belonging to UCA for a campaign fund raiser, paying for it six weeks later with an undated check.
Senator Baker has been the beneficiary of gifts and favors paid for from Former UCA President Lu Hardin’s public expense fund.
Senator Baker refuses to offer a public explanation about these issues.
The mail piece reportedly includes photos of Baker on both sides and lists a P.O. box for contact. If I get a copy, I’ll post it here. (More over at the Arkansas Times blog.)
Update: Here’s the controversial mail piece at the center of this storm, courtesy of the tireless Mr. Tolbert (click the image for enlarged version):
Disclosure: I contributed a total of $112.50 to Baker’s campaign, all in 2007. That’s probably a lot of money to the likes of you, but it’s a drop in the bucket of The Arkansas Project family fortune.