Hutchinson: Governor’s Race Has $5 Million “Entry Fee”

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Candidates in Arkansas wanting to run in the 2014 governor’s race will need a fundraising “entry fee” of $5 million, Asa Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson, a Republican former congressman, said at a Fayetteville breakfast address on Friday (Feb. 1) he anticipates there will be a GOP primary election and that he expects to win it.

“I will not take anything for granted,” he told attendees at a Political Animals Club of Northwest Arkansas breakfast.

The event, attended by about 140 people, was held at the GuestHouse Hotel in Fayetteville.

Hutchinson has not formally entered the race but has said he is running.

“You can’t be a candidate until you file, but I intend to be a candidate, without question,” he told 5NEWS recently. “I’m in the race.”

Hutchinson recently was tabbed by the National Rifle Association to spearhead a school safety initiative following the mass shooting in December at a Connecticut elementary school. The NRA is proposing that an armed volunteer be in place at each school in the country.

Central Arkansas businessman Curtis Coleman also is considering a run for governor in the GOP primary election. He has said the race could cost at least $6 million.

On the Democratic side, former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter filed the articles of incorporation on Wednesday (Jan. 30) allowing him to organize and finance a campaign for governor.

Halter filed paperwork establishing the nonprofit organization “Bill Halter for Arkansas” permitting him to organize the campaign.

He said a formal campaign kickoff will be announced later.

“Arkansans have the right to expect that their governor be tough on their behalf, independent and committed to achieving real results,” Halter said on his Facebook page. “I am proud to have done that as Arkansas’ lieutenant governor, and that is what I intend do if elected governor.”

Halter declared his intention to enter the governor’s race on Jan. 25, immediately after Democratic Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said he is dropping out.

Halter lost a Democratic primary election to then-U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., in 2010. She lost her bid for a third term in the November 2010 general election to Republican John Boozman of Rogers.

McDaniel, who recently admitted to an inappropriate relationship with a Hot Springs lawyer, said in an e-mail to supporters if he ran for governor “this campaign would be about me personally, rather than Arkansas’ future.”

Hutchinson has said he welcomes Halter to the race, adding there is still a lot of time for other candidates to enter.

“We’ll have to see who surfaces,” he said.