MICHAEL JOHN GRAY: Seeking another term as Democratic Party chair.

State Rep. Michael John Gray says he’ll seek another term as chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party after an election with scant gains for Democrats and his own defeat for re-election.

The Democratic State Committee will choose officers Dec. 15.

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Gray was beaten by fewer than 100 votes for re-election in a district that voted heavily for Donald Trump. Statewide, Democrats picked up two House seats, the first since 2012, but lost Gray’s and one other, for a net wash. No progress was made by Democrats in statewide offices or Congress, despite a full slate of candidates, most of them strong.

Said Gray in announcing his candidacy:

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“I am excited to announcement my candidacy for re-election as DPA Chairman. Over the past two years, our party has rebuilt its image and internal structure. On Day One as Chairman, we were over $250,000 in debt and just come off an election cycle in which we left a majority of the seats uncontested. Two years later we reduced the debt, saw a renewed energy that led to a record number of candidates, and are working every day to rebuild and re-connect. We have more work to be done.

“In this past election cycle, our party completely financed an expansive coordinated campaign which aided our candidate for Governor as well as other candidates up and down the ballot. This investment by the party proved successful, as we flipped two state house seats for the first time since 2012. In addition, we now have a full staff, who have already completed needed over hauls of our voter information database, communications shop, finance, and party operations.

“It has been an honor to serve and it has been humbling to receive the support of our Party’s elected officials and county representatives. There is still a lot of work to do, and I look forward to doing my part to keep growing our party.”

I haven’t heard about potential challengers. I do think it’s fair to say the party exhibited renewed vigor this election cycle, so much so that many had hoped for slightly more tangible results. But if some of the new troops can hang on for another round, perhaps the presidential year will be better.

If only the Republicans would nominate a black presidential candidate with a Muslim-sounding middle name ….. 

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