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Tony Orlando, Yakov Smirnoff Endorse GOP's Dennis Milligan For Arkansas State Treasurer

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Tony Orlando has endorsed a candidate in an Arkansas state race.
Tony Orlando has endorsed a candidate in an Arkansas state race.

Singer Tony Orlando and comedian Yakov Smirnoff have both endorsed a candidate for Arkansas state treasurer in next year's election.

As first reported by Politics1.com, Republican Dennis Milligan has unveiled videos on his website touting the support from Smirnoff and Orlando in his run for the state's top fiscal post. The endorsements came after Milligan, currently circuit clerk for Saline County, was introduced to the two minor celebrities by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckebee (R), who is the honorary chairman of Milligan's campaign.

"It was impromptu," Milligan told The Huffington Post about the videos he recorded with each man. "I talked to them about what I want to accomplish."

Orlando, a singer best known for his 1970s hit "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree," said in his video that the Republican would be a "perfect state treasurer."

In his video, Smirnoff, a Ukrainian-born comedian popular in the 1980s who had a recurring role on the television show "Night Court," repeated his signature line, "What a country!"

"I love being here in Hot Springs, Arkansas. I met a lot of wonderful people," Smirnoff said. "Dennis Milligan is running for state treasurer, and you can trust him with your rubles. What a country!”

This is not Orlando's first foray into GOP politics. He backed Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign in 2008 and danced with then-first lady Betty Ford at the Republican National Convention in 1976.

Milligan said he is proud to have endorsements from both men. He is playing up their backing on his website, including separate biographical pages for Orlando and Smirnoff, along with one touting his own record in Saline County.

So far, Milligan is the only announced candidate for the treasurer's office. The job is currently vacant following Democrat Martha Shoffner's resignation on Monday after she was arrested on corruption charges. Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe (D) will name a new state treasurer to serve until Shoffner's term expires in January 2015; that individual cannot run in the 2014 election.

Milligan, a former state Republican Party chairman, told HuffPost that he wants to bring greater transparency to the treasurer's office, which invests state funds. He said that he expects Smirnoff and Orlando, who both live in nearby Branson, Mo., to be involved in the campaign going forward, including appearing at fundraisers.

"They can jump into the campaign at any given time," Milligan said.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified Martha Shoffner, the former Arkansas state treasurer, as a Republican. She is a Democrat.

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