State Sen. Gilbert Baker, R-Conway, took off from Conway’s Cantrell Field Thursday morning en route to media appearances in Little Rock, Jonesboro, Texarkana, Fort Smith and Fayetteville as part of his campaign for the U.S. Senate seat occupied by incumbent Democrat Sen. Blanche Lincoln.

Baker was speaking during stops in these cities on health care reform and his opinion that government-administered health care will lead to "higher costs, reduced quality and limited patient choice."

On. Nov. 19 Baker is scheduled to hold a $1,000-per-person fundraiser at the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

According to an Associated Press report, the committee’s hosting of the fundraiser is not an endorsement, and the committee’s facility is open to other candidates who may request it.

Other Republican candidates that have announced for the position are Kim Hendren of Gravette, Curtis Coleman of Little Rock, Tom Cox of Little Rock, Conrad Reynolds of Conway, Fred Ramey of Searcy and Buddy Rogers of Rogers. Greenland Mayor John Gray has said he will run as a Green Party candidate. No Democratic candidates have announced an intention to challenge Lincoln.

(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached at 505-1238 or by E-mail at Send us your news at