David Dunn, a former state representative from Forrest City and lobbyist who served on Donald Trump’s Commission on Election Integrity, died Monday. He was 52 and died following heart surgery, his business partner told the Associated Press.

Dunn was a co-founder of the government consulting firm Capitol Partners.  It began at the end of 2010 after he’d served six years in the Arkansas House and as executive director of the Forrest City Chamber of Commerce. His experience included work in banking, insurance and with the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission.  He worked as a legislator, and earlier with Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, on tax incentives aimed at business development.


A Democrat, Dunn had been in the news this year after he was appointed to the Commission on Election Integrity. His appointment grew from a friendship with Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin,  a friend of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the leader of the commission’s work. The commission has drawn criticism from those who saw it as a potential tool of Trump to push a belief in voter fraud to explain his loss to Hillary Clinton in the popular vote. The criticism was stoked by an early commission request for broad election data from every state, which Arkansas was among the first to provide.

Dunn addressed those concerns  He said he intended to ensure election data wasn’t misused. Dunn said it was important to remain a participant in the process A Bloomberg report quoted him:


“I know we are outnumbered,” said Democrat David Dunn, a commission member and former Arkansas legislator who has been urged by acquaintances to step down but has so far refused. “Why would you resign?” he said. “Why would you turn it over to the exact people that you’re afraid of doing something that would harm your access to the polls?”

Dunn also was interviewed in Mic. He lamented the “noise” that had surrounded the panel before its first meeting in July.

“We probably could have done a better job of introducing people and letting everybody know that this is not some kind of a posse out to get you,” Dunn said. “We’ve got some very reasonable members there that I think will come together and make some very reasonable middle-of-the-road decisions.”

Dunn acknowledged he and other Democrats have taken heat for agreeing to serve on the Trump panel: “I hope it doesn’t turn out to be something that I can’t continue to be involved in, [but] my daddy always told us if you’re not at the table, then you’re liable to end up on the menu.”

Dunn said his main goal involves sorting the fact from the fiction, and only then taking the necessary action. “If we do have illegal voters, I think that the general population has the right to know about that,” he said. “But I also want to make sure that if we have this type of direction that we have facts that back it up.”

His consulting firm partner, Melissa Moody, said a celebration of his life will be at Christ the King at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 20, with a reception to follow at 1836 Club.