White smoke at the Mansion | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

White smoke at the Mansion

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2009 at 11:38 AM

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UPDATE: Here's a surprise. Gov. Mike Beebe is recommending Todd Turner, a trial lawyer from Arkadelphia and a good one, as Arkansas Democratic Party chair. If sticktoitiveness will get the job done, Todd will get it done. Payday lenders won't cheer. Heh. He's been Clark County Democratic chair. We mentioned him in last week's Arkansan of the Year report.

John Williams provides the bulletin from a Governor's Mansion meeting of the Political Animals Club.

It's hard for the general public to get worked up about this, understandably. But that chair has one very important role -- raising money. And money will be important in 2010 when U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln hopes to hang onto her seat.

I was told this morning by a member of the Democratic State Committee, which will elect the chair, that three people had turned down overtures about the job, which might say something. (Gov. Beebe said the job was not offered to anyone but Turner.) Jimmie Lou Fisher, Political Animals Club pres Steve Ronnel, political operator Vince Insalaco of North Little Rockand PR man Jordan Johnson were among those who'd been mentioned for the job to succeed the late Bill Gwatney, the car dealer who was slain at Democratic Party HQ last year by a man who later died at the end of a police chase. The killer left no explanation for the crime. Retired U.S. Sen. David Pryor has been leading the party on an interim basis.



Governor Mike Beebe released the following statement today regarding the election of Virginia Governor Tim Kaine as chairman of the Democratic National Committee and the candidacy of Todd Turner as the next chairman of the Democratic Party of Arkansas.
"I congratulate Gov. Kaine on his election as the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee.  I have known the Governor through our work together in the Democratic Governors Association and the National Governors Association, and I have every confidence in his leadership of our Party.  I believe that Gov. Kaine, working in partnership with President Barack Obama, will accept the responsibility of ensuring that the Democratic Party thrives as a beacon of hope to all Americans.
"I am grateful to Sen. David Pryor for his work on behalf of our State and our Party for his leadership as chair of the Democratic Party of Arkansas, accepting that role at a very difficult time.  David Pryor has answered the call of public service whenever his State and our Nation have called upon him, and he has served our people well.
"I am proud to support Todd Turner as the next full-term chairman of the DPA.  Todd's commitment to the growth and expansion of our Party includes more than 15 years' experience as a member of the Clark County Democratic Party Executive Committee, which includes a decade as county chairman.  His dedication to the Party and to the people of Arkansas will make him an able chairman."
Todd Turner, a native of De Queen, Arkansas, graduated from Ouachita Baptist University and received his law degree from the UALR School of Law.  He served as an officer in the Arkansas Army National Guard and has served as a deputy prosecuting attorney.  He received the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association's Consumer Advocate Award in 2000 and is currently on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Arkansas Better Business Bureau.  Turner has written several articles on consumer law issues.
Turner was a member of the Young Democrats and also served as the Student Senate President while at OBU.  While attending law school at the University of Arkansas Little Rock campus, he remained an involved member of the Pulaski County Young Democrats.  He has been  active in the Clark County Democratic Committee for over 15 years, serving, as County Chairman since 2007, as the chairman of the Clark County Clinton Day Dinner.  Turner is married to Becca (Arnold) Turner and is the father of Harper, 9, and Cannon, 7.

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