Roby Brock rudely breaks news on my turf today – internal Republican Party of Arkansas gossip. Who does he think he is – a professional journalist or something? Anyway, according to Roby, current Republican Party of Arkansas executive director Karen Ray is heading back to her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi where her fiancée is planning to attend medical school. I guess we did not pass that tobacco tax hike in time to fund a degree program for him in Arkansas.
Ray spearheaded a successful 2008 election cycle for Arkansas Republicans where the state voted for John McCain in a landslide and made significant gains in the state legislature. Finding a replacement for her will be a challenge but non-existent sources deep within the party report that a favorite candidate has already emerged.
The RPA executive committee will meet on March 21 to begin the process of searching for a new director. According to made-up party sources, former communication director for Asa Hutchinson’s gubernatorial campaign and the second best Arkansas conservative blogger David Kinkade has emerged as a favorite for Ray’s replacement. My fictitious sources tell me that Kinkade is widely popular with members of the committee and they see him as the only one who can lead the Party to claim a majority of the state legislature and every constitutional office. One fabricated source reported that they were struck by his successful management of the Asa for Governor Campaign and hopes this success can be translated to every Republican race in our state.
(Editor’s note – for readers who did not catch my satirical nature, the entire portion of this post dealing with David Kinkade is completely untrue and done sole for retaliation of the similarly false rumor he is spreading about me. Of course, his rumors are not as well sourced as mine.)
UPDATE – A real inside source tells me the RPA Chief of Staff Staci Cates has the inside track as her replacement. 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. (A source close to Cates tells me she is flattered to be mentioned but not interested.)
UPDATE II – Good night, you rumormillers are fast. Someone else tells me that former communications director for Gov. Huckabee, Rex Nelson may also be waiting in the wings. That is if he ever gets people to play baseball on Ray Winder Field again. With his soon Obama mandated departure from the Delta Regional Authority, he will be looking for something new.
UPDATE III – Wow, you people like to gossip! Someone else tells me that the RPA may go without an executive director for a period with RPA President Doyle Webb serving in a more full time paid capacity.
UPDATE IV – Covert Arkansas Democrat operative Blake Rutherford of Blake’s Think Tank takes on my David Kinkade rumor and says, “Not so fast, my friend.” Kinkade, Rutherford claims, “is the perfect fit for the job.”
What is Rutherford up to here? Is this part of a grand conspiracy to lure us Republicans into choosing Kinkade as our ED? Then, he will rip off his I love the GOP t-shirt and display his Bloggers for Blache t-shirt underneath and laugh at our folly? Or perhaps Rutherford’s evil genius is even more Clintonian than that. Perhaps Kinkade really is the perfect fit for the job but Rutherford knows we would never listen to a yellow dog Democrat like him so by suggesting Kinkade, he eliminates him from our list; thereby preventing the perfect solution to all our problems.
On a serious note, if Kinkade were to put down the mouse and take up a steady paying gig at the RPA, he certainly would bring a wealth of experience and connections to the job. Plus his understanding of how to effectively use technology to communicate and network could really move us forward as a Party.
So, it is settled. We know for sure that it is either Rex Nelson or David Kinkade or no one or someone completely different. Okay, now back to work everyone.
UPDATE V - Because I just can’t help myself and because my traffic is spiking from this story I must post another update to refer to two posts in the blogophere on this one.
First, fellow conservative blogger Rett Hatcher offers a constructive well thought out analysis of the qualities needed for our new executive director and does so without any name speculating gossip. So if that is your thing, good luck with all that!
Second, Kinkade updates his post with the following analysis, “And you should also know that the most likely candidate will not be any one of the names you see floated on these blogs, but someone picked by the Republican National Committee, most likely with Mr. Clint Reed’s blessing.”
Let me be the first of many very vocal grassroots state party activities to say “NO FREAKIN’ WAY!” Nothing against Clint Reed or the RNC but 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.
UPDATE VI – I know is this getting to the point of absurdity, and I am certainly proving Brantley correct that I am obsessive, but two more names have been put through the rumor mill.
I am told RPA political director Chase (not related to Jim Bob) Dugger 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 rising star among Arkansas Republicans. If I remember correctly, the political director position is the same position Clint Reed came from when he was hired as executive director.
Arkansas Republican gone to Washington Princella Smith is another name being tossed around. Smith, like myself, 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.
So to recap - it is either David Kinkade, Rex Nelson, Chase Dugger, Princella Smith, no one with RPA President Doyle Webb as the acting director (Max Brantley's belief), whomever RNC guru Clint Reed anoints (Kinkade's belief), or someone completely different.