The race for governor is a long way off with Gov. Mike Beebe’s final term lasting until January 2015, but at least one Republican is already laying the groundwork for a future campaign. In an email obtained by the Tolbert Report, Curtis Coleman has begun to ask people to join an “unofficial Coleman for Governor ’14 steering committee.”
Coleman’s first political race was in the 2010 Republican Senate primary when he finished fifth out of eight with 4.87 percent. The latest campaign filing shows the campaign is still $139,491 in debt. He also unsuccessfully ran for Republican Party National Committeeman against state Rep. Jonathan Barnett in June 2010. He is currently a regular of KARN radio’s Dave Elswick Show where he offers daily commentary. He’s also teaching seminars around the state on the constitution. Before getting into politics, Coleman was an evangelist and an executive for his father-in-the-law’s company, Safe Foods.
In an email to Jonesboro area Republicans — including members of the Craighead County Republican Committee — Coleman invites them to attend a meeting at Western Sizzlin’ in Jonesboro on Monday at noon.
“I’m going to be in Jonesboro to speak for ACT! for America Monday evening. Could we get a group together for lunch around noon; a group of folks who might be interested in forming a unofficial Coleman for Governor ’14 steering committee for Craighead Co (and perhaps NEA)? ‘Unofficial’ is a key word. And this effort will not interfere with 2012 races – in fact, I hope what we do will support every conservative running for office in NEA in 2012. This group will form the foundation for a future organization, and discuss future strategies and schedules. If this seems early, rest assured the 2014 race for Governor is already very much engaged!”
A Facebook group called “Curtis Coleman for Governor” has also been set up and mainly includes links to Coleman’s KARN appearances, his seminars, and his blog posts.
I contacted Coleman for comment, but have not yet heard back.
Other Republicans that are frequently mentioned for Governor are Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr, Congressman Steve Womack, and Congressman Tim Griffin, although none have made as strong of overtures as Coleman. Democrats mentioned include Congressman Mike Ross, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, and former Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter.
UPDATE – A reader sends along another email entitled “Decision Made” from Coleman showing that he actually began organizing for governor as far back as August.
In an email dated August 6 to
The Curtis Coleman Institute for Constitutional Policy members a group of supporters, Coleman writes, “So after weeks (more like months) of prayer and discussion, including your counsel and theirs, Kathryn and I have come to the understanding that we should significantly expand the activities and public visibility (and hopefully the impact) of The Institute, and that I should plan to run for Governor in 2014.”
Coleman then outlines how he plans to expand his viability in hopes of parlaying this into a run for governor. The email…
So we are “pitching our tent” in that direction. And we are asking you to join us in this critical and urgent venture.
We are agreed, I think that the two most critical components for a successful campaign are:
1. Money – a lot of money very early (understanding that we cannot legally accept campaign contributions more than two years in advance of an election). As far as the media is concerned, the front-runner is the candidate with the most money.
2. Name ID – I’ve got very good name ID among conservative political activists in the State. But we’ve got to positively build this among the voting public.
“Pitching our tent” means we will begin working immediately to…
1. Build a state-wide grass roots organization, likely initially under the umbrella of the “unofficial steering committee.”
2. Secure commitments for endorsements, support and contributions to the future campaign.
3. Increase my visibility at functions and events around the state (we’ve got to figure out how I can put more events in my schedule :-))
4. Expand the activities and public visibility of The Institute through events and media (initially radio, possibly billboards, and through volunteer teams who will setup and man booths for The Institute at various events around the State).
5. Solicit the required funds to support the expanded activities of The Institute. Contributions to the non-profit Institute are tax-deductible.
Let me be clear that The Institute and any future political campaign for office will be completely separate entities.
I genuinely believe that if we are to continue what our Founding Fathers created, our sacrifices will be no less than theirs.
Also, the AP noted my story this morning and pointed out that Coleman chairs the Secretary of State’s Citizens Implementation and Application Committee. According to Secretary of State Spokesman Alex Reed, there is no plan to change this at this time.
“Coleman will continue to chair the committee and their work is scheduled to be done by March,” explained Reed saying that since he is “not an announced candidate,” they don’t see a conflict.
Reed said that the committee has met with some staff members and is reviewing the “efficiency and effectiveness” of the office. Reed did say that this includes the Elections Division. Martin specifically pledged during his campaign that the Elections Division would clearly avoid any partisan ties. Reed says the committee will present its report in March and their office will make it public and decide how to use it.
“It’s interesting that Coleman currently is advising Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office, the office that oversees elections, while planning an apparent run for Governor in the future,” commented Democratic Party of Arkansas spokesperson Candace Martin.