Doyle Webb (1955–)
Doyle L. Webb II is a lawyer and former state senator from Benton (Saline County). He began serving as chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party in 2008. Webb served as Lieutenant Governor Winthrop Paul Rockefeller’s chief of staff from 2002 to 2007. Webb lives in the historic Gann House with his wife, Barbara Webb, who served as Saline County’s prosecuting attorney from 1996 to 2002.
Doyle Webb was born on December 3, 1955, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Doyle L. (D. L.) Webb and Dolores Cornett Webb. He has one sister, Candis. Webb attended Benton High School, graduating in 1974. His political career began as Saline County coordinator for Ken Coon’s gubernatorial campaign in 1974. Webb earned a BA in history from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1978 and his Juris Doctorate from what is now the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law in 1981. In 1986, Webb was elected justice of the peace of Saline County, the first Republican and youngest person ever to hold the position at that time. He served three terms. On August 30, 1986, Doyle married Barbara Womack, a 1975 graduate of Little Rock’s McClellan High School. They have no children.
In 1994, Webb was elected to the Arkansas Senate representing the Fourteenth District, consisting of most of Saline and Perry counties. While in the Senate, Webb served as vice-chair on eleven committees. He sponsored or co-sponsored many bills, including legislation that established the ARKids First healthcare program and one that gave scholarships to children of firefighters who died in the line of duty. In 1996, Doyle’s wife was elected prosecuting attorney for Saline County, becoming the first Republican woman to hold the office.
By 1997, the couple had formed Gann House Renovations, LLC. Under their company name, the couple purchased, renovated, and rented many of Benton’s historic homes. By 2018, they owned all but one house in the Gann Row Historic District, as well as the Gann House and the Charles “Bullet” Hyten House.
In 2002, Webb left the Senate to serve as Lieutenant Governor Winthrop Paul Rockefeller’s chief of staff. In 2005, Rockefeller announced he was running for governor, but he dropped out of the race due to health problems; he died in 2006.
In 2008, Doyle was elected chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party. In 2018, he was the longest-serving chairman in the history of the modern Arkansas Republican Party. Author Ken Coon stated that Webb was “arguably, the [party’s] most successful chairman.” Under Webb’s leadership, the Republican Party took control of the governorship and both houses of the Arkansas General Assembly, as well as claiming all four of Arkansas’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and both U.S. Senate seats. On February 21, 2017, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel appointed Webb to be general counsel for the Republican National Committee (RNC). In that capacity, Webb served on two national committees: as chairman of the RNC Committee on Contests and as co-chair of the RNC Committee on Credentials for the National Convention.
On January 8, 2021, the Arkansas Times reported that Webb had failed in his bid to become co-chair of the Republican National Committee. However, later that month, Webb joined the office of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, leading a new “redistricting team,” which also included fellow Republican lawmakers Andy Davis and Doug House.
For additional information:
Coon, Ken. Heroes and Heroines of the Journey: The Builders of the Modern Republican Party of Arkansas. N.p.: Arkansas Republican Party, 2014.
“Senator Doyle Webb.” Arkansas State Legislature. http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/1999/R/Pages/MemberProfile.aspx?member=Webb (accessed January 30, 2018).
Cody Lynn Berry
Last Updated: 01/20/2021