LITTLE ROCK — The chairman of the state Democratic Party said Thursday he will not seek a third term.
In a letter emailed to Democratic Party supporters, Vince Insalaco said that “when I agreed to chair the party, I necessarily had to put on hold or compromise parts of my life that I hold dear.”
“For that reason, it was never my intent to stay as chair more than two terms; however, many of you are encouraging me to seek a third term,” he said. “And I appreciate your support more than you will know. But I believe it is time for me to move on to a new chapter of my life, so I will not seek a third term.”
Insalaco said the job of chairman “requires a singular focus and full-time commitment. It is a dramatically different job from what it was when Arkansas was a Democratic state. I hope those who seek the post will keep this in mind.”
A North Little Rock businessman, Insalaco worked on Democratic campaigns for decades before being named state party chairman in 2013, a little less than a year after Republicans won control of both houses of the state Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction.
He also was president of the Young Democrats of Arkansas in the early 1980s.
“As you know, the last few years have been difficult for all of us,” Insalaco said in the letter. “Despite all of the challenges, together, we have made progress as we prioritized fundraising while reducing the debt, instituted modern rules, and rebuilt county committees.”
Under his leadership, the party began the annual Jimmie Lou Fisher-Lottie Shackelford Dinner as a fundraiser, decided to change the name of the annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner to a name that has not yet been chosen, began the Daisy and L.C. Bates Humanitarian Award, paid off a 10-year-old debt, eliminated a $309,000 debt from the 2014 election cycle and reduced its mortgage, Insalaco said.
In less than a year, the party’s county committees have grown from 27 to 60 and have increased their membership from 400 to 2,100, he said.
“There are many people I need to thank and will do so in the coming weeks,” Insalaco said. “I will serve out my term with the same passion I initially brought to the work, and look forward to seeing you all at the state committee meeting this weekend. Thank you for allowing me to serve you these past years.”
Party spokesman H.L. Moody said a new chairman is expected to be chosen in the first quarter of next year. House Minority Leader Michael John Gray, D-Augusta, and Drew Pritt of Little Rock have said they will seek the position.