Lt. Governor Endorses Hutchinson in 2014

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Lt. Governor Mark Darr announced Tuesday he will not run in the 2014 Gubernatorial race, instead he endorsed fellow Republican Asa Hutchinson, a Rogers attorney.

Darr released the following statement explaining how he came to the decision:

“I have fielded many questions over the past few months from friends and supporters concerning the 2014 Gubernatorial Race. I have received support and encouragement to run for this office and I am very humbled and appreciative. During this time, Kim and I have prayerfully considered this important decision. We have decided that this race is not the right choice for us at this time.”

Darr’s announcement came just weeks after Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, a Democrat, backed out of the race.

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.”

In the release, Darr endorsed Huchinson. He states:

“I am happy to announce my support of my friend, Asa Hutchinson for Governor of our great state. I intend to do anything that Asa deems helpful to assist him in his race for our state’s highest office.”

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

Tuesday night Hutchinson responded to his endorsement by saying:

“Mark Darr is the top elected Republican official in the State of Arkansas and his support for governor is deeply appreciated and gives our campaign an early boost.  Mark’s leadership and endorsement will help unify our party as we seek the strongest candidate to win in 2014.

On the Democratic side, former Lt. Governor Bill Halter filed the articles of incorporation on 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.

Central Arkansas businessman Curtis Coleman recently declared on his Facebook page, “Let Arkansas Prosper,” that he will announce his campaign this month for the 2014 governor’s race. The announcement is set for Feb. 21 at 11 a.m at the state Capitol.

Governor Mike Beebe is prohibited by term limits from running in the 2014 race.