Top Arkansas Democrat admits ‘inappropriate’ relationship

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, a Democratic candidate for governor in 2014, has admitted to an inappropriate relationship with a Hot Springs attorney. 

McDaniel, who has been married since 2009, said he met Andrea Davis during his 2010 re-election campaign. The connection was revealed in court filings from Davis' custody dispute with her ex-husband. 

“With respect to Ms. Davis, I met her during the 2010 campaign. I had limited interaction with her in 2011, some of which I regret to say was inappropriate. I have no knowledge of the other allegations contained in this pleading," McDaniel said in a statement. 

The attorney general does not plan to drop out of the gubernatorial race, for which he has already raised $1 million. 

"My wife Bobbi and I love each other very much," McDaniel added. "I have been candid with her about this matter, and with much prayer, we have moved on with our life together. I hope the people of Arkansas will also accept my apology and know how honored I am to work for them every day."

The news comes as a serious blow to Democrats in the state at a difficult time. Popular Gov. Mike Beebe (D) is retiring, and the state's increasingly Republican tilt makes this a prime GOP pickup opportunity. Even McDaniel's internal polling, which shows him leading in the primary, has him losing the general election to former congressman Asa Hutchinson (R). 

Democratic Rep. Mike Ross has already said he will not run. Other potential candidates include former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter and highway commissioner John Burkhalter. On the Republican side, Hutchinson is expected to make a decision in January. 

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

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