Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan, R-Ark., announced Tuesday (May 3) he is endorsing State Sen. Mat Pitsch, R-Fort Smith, over Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, in the Republican primary to succeed him.
Milligan is unopposed in the GOP primary for Auditor of State. The primary election is May 24.
“I have visited with both Republican candidates running for this office. Today, I am whole-heartedly and publicly endorsing Mat Pitsch for State Treasurer,” said Milligan.
“Mat is running for this office not for personal financial gains, but out of a sense of public duty. I feel confident that if the good people of Arkansas elect Mat Pitsch as the next Treasurer of State, he will continue to build upon the efforts I have made in keeping your public money safe and secure,” Milligan added.
“Many thanks to Treasurer Milligan for his endorsement and hard work,” said Pitsch. “The state has had a record of success under his leadership and I’m excited for the opportunity to continue that legacy with my trusted and recognized financial experience.”
Lowery responded to the endorsement saying he is the preferred anti-establishment candidate among Republican voters, and he accused of his primary opponent of being susceptible to corruption.
“I’m not surprised that another establishment Republican is backing Mat Pitsch. The common core to a lot of the endorsements are people who believe in expanded government and increased taxes on the state of Arkansas. I’m not going to fall into that category,” Lowery said.
“I think Mr. Pitsch has taken a million dollars of taxpayer money and put it in his own pocket. … If Arkansans elect Mat Pitsch as State Treasurer, we can probably see some Martha Shoffner-type tactics in the years to come,” he added.
Former Treasurer Martha Shoffner, D-Ark., resigned from office after being convicted on 14 counts of bribery and extortion.
Pitsch is the executive director of the Western Arkansas Intermodal Authority, which has drawn legitimate investments of public and private money, but has been criticized as “excessive” and too slow to develop.
Lowery has come under fire for financial stewardship for filing personal bankruptcy twice.
The winner of the Republican primary faces Democratic candidate Pam Whitaker in the general election.