Nearly six weeks after acknowledging an extramarital affair, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel (D) is ending his bid to become the next governor of Arkansas, he said Friday, citing a concern that the campaign would be dominated by an examination of his personal life.
“I had hoped that I could shape the 2014 gubernatorial debate with my vision for the future. Unfortunately, I am now convinced that if I run for Governor, this campaign would be about me personally, rather than Arkansas’s future,” McDaniel wrote to supporters on his campaign website.
McDaniel, the onetime Democratic frontrunner, admitted in December to having an extramarital affair with a woman he met in 2010. He had pledged to continue his campaign and put the matter behind him.
McDaniel’s exit came the same day word arrived that former lieutenant governor Bill Halter (D) is planning to enter the race. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported the 2010 Senate candidate will file paperwork next week.
The race is an uphill climb for Democrats. Gov. Mike Beebe (D) is term-limited, and on the Republican side, former congressman Asa Hutchinson, who is heading the National Rifle Association’s School Shield Program, recently said he expects to jump in the contest.