Will Republican shake-up affect 2004 elections?

(October 27, 2003) - (Little Rock-AP) -- Five employees of the state Republican Party went home jobless last week. The departures could cause organizational problems for the G-O-P heading into the 2004 elections. The state party already is dealing with fallout from an ongoing Federal Election Commission investigation into its fundraising for the 2000 elections. Political science professor Art English says a quick fix is needed for the party to show strongly in next year's general election. Gunner DeLay, the state party's acting chairman, said the party eliminated the posts of executive director, minority outreach coordinator, field director and get-out-the vote director because it couldn't afford the salaries. DeLay and other party officials downplayed possible consequences on the party's effort to elect candidates to local, state and federal offices. He says candidates raise most of their money at the local level and that the party will continue to help connect donors and candidates. But political watchers say the controversy could leave voters and donors with lingering questions.