Chairman of the Republican political action committee GOPAC David Avella was in Little Rock Wednesday to announce support for six Arkansas Republicans – three State Senate races and three State House races.

“When we look at our tour around the country, state legislatures with the best chance for Republicans to gain a majority, there is no state higher on our priority list than this state right here,” said Avella speaking to reporters at the Republican Party of Arkansas headquarters. “As we look at races that are a representation of if these candidates win, these are the races to watch that will greatly impact our ability to get to the majority in both the senate and the house.”

Avella not only announced his organization’s endorsement, but perhaps more significantly presented checks for the maximum allowed donation of $2,000 each to the following races:

  • Rep. Linda Collins-Smith (R) in Senate District 19 vs Sen. David Wyatt (D)
  • Rep. Jane English (R) in Senate District 34 vs Rep. Barry Hyde (D)
  • Sen. Jason Rapert (R) in Senate District 35 vs Rep. Linda Tyler (D)
  • Rep. Allen Kerr (R) in House District 32 vs Barbara Graves (D)
  • Mary Bentley (R) in House District 73 vs Rep. John Catlett (D)
  • Bill Gossage (R) in House District 82 vs Rep. Leslee Milam Post (D)

“We have been fortunate to build a track record  – looking just in the 2010 races – where 84 percent of candidates we supported won and 85 percent of those were challengers and open seats. And as we look to gain majorities, it is about going out and finding those races that give us the best opportunity to gain majorities,” said Avella.

As for if GOPAC plans to get involved in any more races, Avella tells me that it is “to be determined” as there is still more time to make that call. As for why they chose these six candidates, he tells me that “each one present a very unique opportunity for Republicans.”

Although Avella said that the Arkansas state legislature is one of their top priorities, his organization plans to also get involved in races for the Kentucky House, the Iowa Senate, the Nevada Senate, the New Mexico House, and the Oregon House – all of which present opportunities for Republicans to take the majority.

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Jason Tolbert is the moderator for his opinion blog, The Tolbert Report. He can be reached by e-mail at Jason@TolbertReport.com. Follow him on Twitter: @TolbertReport.