AR-Gov race 2014: Looking down the road.

In politics, you’re never going to get too good of results looking way down the road.  But hey, that never stops us from trying, and my home state, Arkansas, is one of those fun little rural states where everyone knows everyone else and what folks are up to, which makes prognosticating easier.  Already there are signs of what’s to come in the governor’s race for 2014, once Beebe is done and moving on.  And since I’ve been doing some writing on one of the potential candidates on my own blog as of late I thought I’d do a quick write up.

The three candidates constantly mentioned for the 2014 race are Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, Lt. Governor Bill Halter, and Congressman Mike Ross.

McDaniel is a former state representative from Jonesboro, where I now live. He’s a lawyer and a former cop, and he has a huge base here in northeast Arkansas.  He’s generally considered fairly liberal by Arkansas standards, and he touted his prochoice position in order to win the AG primary in ’06.  But he has some faults-his ethics bill he proposed has a huge flaw in it in that it doubled the amount of money legislators could draw as a salary from campaign funds, and he’s gotten some criticism over using the state police helicopter improperly.

Halter worked in Bill Clinton’s administration before running for Governor in ’06, then dropping down to the Lt. Gov race.  He pissed a lot of people off in that campaign, coming in with a lot of out of state money, making no effort to woo the state machine, and there was some significant opposition to his signature issue, the state lottery.  However, while he certainly doesn’t carry himself with the humility and down home mannerisms that Arkansans expect of their politicians, there is something to be said for Halter being a different kind of politician.  He doesn’t think like the rest of the establishment, he’s definately more liberal for one, and his move on the lottery was largely opposed by the entire state establishment who were all quick to take credit for its passage.

Then there’s Mike Ross, the Congressman from southern Arkansas.  Ross is probably the most conservative of the three, and his votes on hate crimes and cap-and-trade the lately have made that much clear.  He thought about running in ’06 but yeilded to his old mentor Beebe, stating he couldn’t take the pay cut.  He could make the electability argument I guess, though the other two guys won statewide elections fairly easily and look to do so again next year, so I’m not sure it works.

So those are our three potential candidates.  I’m hoping someone else jumps in personally as none of these three appeal to me.  But we’ve got a long way to go until then, so we’ll see what happens.

16 thoughts on “AR-Gov race 2014: Looking down the road.”

  1. there’s no doubt the state is trending red, hard, on the national level. While Beebe should be reelected easily next year, do you think the Democrats will still be strong at the state level in 2014? I know that, in other southern states like Georgia, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, the Democrats went from all-powerful to outnumbered very rapidly, sometimes in one or two election cycles.

  2. McDaniel taking the good ol’ boy angle with the backing of the traditional Democratic powers, (Jimmie Lou Fisher, Mark Pryor, Blache Lincoln, and likely Mike Beebe as well), while Halter will run, (and there’s no doubt that he won’t, his ego is huge, only the 100% liklihood of career ending, bridge burning, curshing defeats kept him from running against Beebe in 2006 and Mark Pryor in 2008), from a fiery outsider vantage demanding further reforms.

    I fear that this will weaken the state Democratic party, especially if Halter becomes the nominee and is an open progressive. He’d win, but I feel he would drive away and alienate some traditional Democratic consitituients and hurt the Democrats bottomline in the long run, especially if he clashes with the state establishment.

    You forgot to mention Halter is very rich, very very rich, and could spend plenty of his own money.

    I supported…god i can’t remember his name. Oh well. I didn’t like Tim Wooldridge because he was big dino. I liked the young, charismatic, populist former State Representative from Northwest Arkansas who narrowly lost to John Boozman in an unexpectedly competitive 2001 special election. He didn’t make the runoff because he was snubbed bythe establishment, who then lost becuase Halter got the progressive vote. Susky was worse than Wooldridge, I couldn’t stand his positions, I wondered why he didn’t run as a Republican so I was very happy that McDaniel narrowly beat him. That was the last Arkansas election I covered first hand. I moved from Arkansas a month or two after that, and have been slightly disconnected to it since. All I know is that Beebe is a great politician as he tells everyone what they want to hear.

    Anyway, to quit rambling, I’m actually hoping to avoid a competitive primary. Obama could appoint Halter to be Commissioner of Social Security, (he was Deputy Commissioner before), and that would get him out of the way, because, hey, how could he refuse that kind of position. If he does run I’d prefer to avoid a state-splitting primary all together and have McDaniel run for LG and “wait his turn” so to say. He could do it. He’s be what? 42? He could run for those two terms and then run for two of his own and still only be 58 in 2030, 60 in 2032 if he wanted to run for Pryors seat if it was open. But that’s getting to far ahead of myself. I just hope that Halter moderates himself and moves further to the center to keep a united Arkansas Democratic party in 2014.

    So you’re from Jonesboro then? I’d have never have guessed that. I would said Little Rock. So you’re in the “Crowley’s Ridge” geographical region of Arkansas then, lol.

  3. Would Mike Ross not have the advantage? As he is a pro-life Blue Dog. Although maybe part of the battle will also be regional. Though I do not know where Halter is from.

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