The brief news release from Attorney General Dustin McDaniel only confirms the obvious:
LITTLE ROCK — Today with the filing of Articles of Incorporation, I began laying the groundwork for a campaign for Governor in 2014.
This initial legal step allows me to begin the process of organizing and financing a gubernatorial bid. A formal announcement of my candidacy will come at a later date, but I expect a hard-fought campaign.
I have the experience and ability to lead our state, confront the issues facing our citizens, and meet the demands of a 21st century economy. I believe Arkansas's best days are yet to come, and I look forward to sharing my vision in the months ahead.
Rep. Clark Hall got an early start, too, in his race for Congress. And he had Dustin McDaniel's support for 1st District Congress. Just saying about early starts.
Former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter is keeping his political powder dry, working in a high-profile way to promote an ethics reform initiative. McDaniel belatedly and half-heartedly endorsed the measure last week. He'd do better unleashing his organization to gather signatures. THAT would be an endorsement. If Halter doesn't oppose McDaniel, I'll be surprised.
Highway Commissioner John Burkhalter sounded very serious about a Democratic candidacy when I talked with him at the airport recently.
Mike Ross is out, because he came to understand you'd have to be a Democrat to win the Democratic primary. He decided to become a lobbyist.
Come the primary a little less than two years from now, who knows what the changing political landscape might bring? A Republican majority in the legislature might even make the job look less enticing to a Democrat. U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, Lt. Gov. Mark Darr, perennial candidate Asa Hutchinson and hordes more (How about Land Commissioner John Thurston? He's been the most quietly effective of the surprise crop of Republican state officials.) are potential candidates on the Republican side.
UPDATE: Did I say Bill Halter was keeping political powder dry? Just in:
Statement from Bud Jackson - Spokesperson for Bill Halter
"People are sick and tired of perpetual campaigns and the election for the next governor is more than two years away. Launching a campaign now for November 2014 undermines candidates on the ballot this November. Time would be better spent working to get ethics reform before Arkansas voters this November."
Note that McDaniel isn't the first start campaigning early. It follows a long pattern in Arkansas. McDaniel has actually been running for governor since he was a member of the legislature.