SEEKS PARTY POST: Rep. John Burris.

  • SEEKS PARTY POST: Rep. John Burris.

State Rep. John Burris of Harrison is running for first vice chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party, a seat currently held by Duane Neal of Benton County, who, as far as I know, will seek re-election.

His letter, with his requisite qualifications, follows on the jump. (So, Rep. Burris, it’s you who was responsible for recruiting and backing the Three Stooges – Mauch, Hubbard and Fuqua? Good of you to man up. They certainly got the Arkansas GOP some national attention.)

But more seriously: Burris was a key man in the putsch that installed Rep. Davy Carter of Cabot as House speaker, over Terry Rice of Waldron. That might make this election a little more exciting than your average vice chairmanship. (Speaking of that speaker’s race: An extreme fringe Republican, Mark Moore, has posted a comment on this race, which, believe it or not, I think is a sound analysis. Some Democrats will be a little chagrined to read the more conservative Republican won, Obamacare being a possible exception.)

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In response to a question, Burris said he would seek no pay for doing this job of fund-raising and campaign building for the party for 2014.

I asked because Burris has been a full-time legislator. He says he’s working on getting a real estate license and does some “consulting,” but he’s mostly been among that roving band of unemployed Republicans who talk a lot about business stimulus and the free market while depending on the government and kindness from lobbyists for sustenance. That’s fine, by the way. But I could see ethical appearance problems in getting a paid party job that would entail asking special interests for party contributions. Even unpaid, I’m not sure it’s a wholly seemly task for a legislator. But Burris was among those who opposed the Regnat Populus reform initiative that would have cut off freebies for legislators and made it hard to convert to lobbyist.

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