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State Treasurer Dennis Milligan announced Tuesday that he's seeking re-election next year.

The Benton Republican announced his 2018 re-election bid nearly five months after he filed his first campaign-finance report on April 14, according to the secretary of state's website.

Milligan said he would like to serve a second four-year term because of his office's substantial increase in earnings on state investments; the growth and reduction of fees in the Arkansas 529 college-savings program; and the introduction and growth of a financial literacy program under his administration.

He is limited to two terms by the state constitution. For the 2018 election, the filing period for state and federal offices will be Feb. 22-March 1. The primary will be May 22, and the general election will be Nov. 6.

In July, Milligan's office reported that the treasury earned $57.5 million on its investments in fiscal 2017 -- the largest amount since fiscal 2009's $72.6 million. Fiscal years begin July 1.

"I came into office promising I would challenge the way things have always been done," Milligan said in a news release. "The results have been positive and I am humbly asking the citizens of Arkansas to give me one last term to finish the job I started almost three years ago."

Milligan succeeded former Legislative Auditor Charles Robinson of North Little Rock. Robinson was appointed by then-Gov. Mike Beebe in May 2013 after then-Democratic Treasurer Martha Shoffner of Newport, who had been in the post since January 2007, resigned after her arrest on an extortion charge.

In 2015, Shoffner was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison after a jury found her guilty of six counts of extortion, one count of attempted extortion and seven counts of receipt of bribery in connection with a series of cash payments she received from a broker between 2010 and 2013.

So far, no other Republican and no Democrat has publicly signaled an interest in running for treasurer in 2018. Milligan, who is a former chairman of the state Republican Party and a former Saline County circuit court clerk, said he hopes that he doesn't get a GOP foe because "we have done a good enough job for Arkansans."

In March 2015, Milligan agreed to pay Republican Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office a $1,000 penalty for violating the state's nepotism law when he hired his cousin for a $63,000-a-year job at the treasurer's office. He also reimbursed the state $6,941.62 for the pay earned by his cousin, Sam Swayze.

In February of this year, a federal jury cleared Milligan of a discrimination claim and his former chief of staff, Jim Harris, of a defamation claim by Milligan's former outreach manager, David Singer, who was terminated from his $65,000-a-year job in April 2105.

Singer's suit contended that Harris defamed Singer by publicly releasing a confidential email in which Harris questioned the employee's sanity. The jury also had to decide whether Milligan believed, based on the email or conversations with his executive staff, that Singer was mentally ill and whether he fired him because of that -- in violation of federal disability law.

Singer also has lawsuits against Milligan in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

Metro on 09/06/2017

Print Headline: Treasurer running again to 'finish the job'

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