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.