LITTLE ROCK — Dennis Milligan, a former chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas and the current circuit clerk of Saline County said Thursday he plans to run for state treasurer in 2014.

Milligan said he has been thinking about running for several months, long before the recent release of a state audit critical of how current state Treasurer Martha Shoffner has handled finances in the office.

"We were working on this long before the Shoffner thing ever broke. That infrastructure and everything that we’ve been putting together, we were several, several months ahead of Shoffner. She just actually brought a lot of attention to that office with her gaffes," he said.

The former GOP chairman said he has "lightly" launched his campaign and plans an official announcement early next year.

He served as head of the state Republican Party from May 2007 to the end of 2008. He was elected Saline County circuit clerk in 2010.

An audit of the treasurer’s office found Shoffner sold bonds from the treasurer’s investment portfolio to selected brokers before the bonds reached maturity and later purchased bonds from the same investment brokers. The audit concluded that if the bonds had been allowed to mature the state would have made an additional $58,172.

At a legislative hearing last month, Autumn Sanson, the treasurer’s chief investment officer, testified she had advised Shoffner not to sell bonds before they matured. Shoffner told lawmakers that no one on her staff had spoken about the practice.

Shoffner is expected to answer additional questions at a legislative hearing in November.

A former state legislator, Shoffner is serving her second term as treasurer and will be prevented by term limits from seeking re-election in two years.