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‘Nagging doubt’ dogs Baker campaign

“Nagging doubt” remains over Sen. Gilbert Baker’s role in helping a Democrat, Jack Critcher, get elected Senate president pro tem in 2005 instead of Republican Sen. Dave Bisbee, according to an internal memo from Baker’s U.S. Senate campaign obtained by blogger Jason Tolbert.

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Speaking for Baker

Republican state Sen. Gilbert Baker says he has hired Alice Stewart as deputy campaign manager and spokeswoman for his U.S. Senate campaign.

Stewart, a former television news reporter, was spokeswoman for Mike Huckabee when he was Arkansas governor and later served as national press secretary for Huckabee’s Republican presidential campaign last year.

Baker, one of seven Republicans vying for the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Senate incumbent Blanche Lincoln next year, says of Stewart:

“Her experience on the state and national level will be a great asset as we work to deliver the message of common sense, conservative leadership.”

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Senate hopeful ‘disappointed’ with Baker

Conrad Reynolds, a Republican hopeful for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Blanche Lincoln, tells Jason Tolbert he is “disappointed” that state Sen. Gilbert Baker, a fellow Conway resident, has entered the race after telling Reynolds he didn’t want the job.

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Baker challenge remarkable

State Senate Republican Gilbert Baker’s entry into Arkansas’ U.S. Senate race today was a remarkable development in Washington.

Dueling Senate campaign fundraising committees rushed out scathing remarks against the other party’s candidate as if the 2010 general election, more than a year away, was already set.

Spokeswoman Amber Wilkerson of the National Republican Senatorial Committee had this to say about Lincoln:

“Today’s announcement by Gilbert Baker is another indication that Blanche Lincoln is facing an uphill battle in her quest for re-election in 2010.

“The growing field of Republican and Democrat challengers in Arkansas demonstrates Lincoln’s vulnerability, thanks in great part to her record in support of the Obama tax and spend agenda, including the massive stimulus bill, pork-laden omnibus and bloated budget.

“Lincoln has failed to lead on critical issues such as health care and card check, and has instead resisted taking positions entirely in order to preserve has own political future. As her sagging poll numbers indicate, Blanche Lincoln has lost touch with the people of Arkansas, and she will be forced to answer for her record next November.”

And this from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee:

“Gilbert Baker joins a crowded cast of characters better suited for a sitcom than for elected office.

“As Baker’s record comes under close examination, the people of Arkansas will find a Little Rock insider who repeatedly puts his own self-interest above those he has pledged to serve.

“He has never met a pork project he doesn’t like and will have to answer for his endless spending in Little Rock.”

Baker is among a half-dozen Republicans who have announced plans to seek the GOP nomination to challenge Lincoln next year.

Lincoln, a two-term U.S. Senate incumbent, could face a Democratic primary challenge from current state Senate President Pro Tem Bob Johnson of Bigelow.

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Baker honors crisis center workers

State Sen. Gilbert Baker today thanked crisis pregnancy care center workers for their service to Arkansas families.

“You serve families typically that are in crisis situations, and you serve those families from a strong pro-life (position), meeting the needs of children and moms, dads, boyfriends, whatever,” Baker, R-Conway, said during a ceremony in the Senate chamber.

Baker, a former member of the board of directors of a crisis pregnancy care center, said elected officials pass laws and set public policies, but “at the end of the day you folks are right there on the front line.”

Forty-two centers across the state provide services to women facing unplanned pregnancies, including counseling, pregnancy tests and referrals to other support services.

Baker read a citation honoring the workers and presented it to Kathie Archer, who runs a crisis pregnancy care center in North Little Rock. Also taking part in the ceremony were Sen. Sharon Trusty, R-Russellville, Rep. Davy Carter, R-Cabot, Rep. Robert Dale, R-Dover, and Rose Mimms, executive director of Arkansas Right to Life.

Baker, often mentioned as a possible GOP challenger to U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln in 2010, told the Arkansas News Bureau he remains undecided on whether he’ll run.

“I’ve got young boys at home. Of course I love my legislative service and all that, but the main thing is just family considerations,” he said.

State Sen. Kim Hendren of Gravette is the only Republican who has announced as a candidate for the Senate seat, and Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman has formed an exploratory committee to test the waters. Baker said he will not base his decision on the landscape of the race.

“I think a primary is going to be healthy for whoever runs, and my decision is not based on who’s in and who’s out. It’s just strictly, could I run a race and could I serve with my family constraints?” he said.

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