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Bill Halter Bows out of 2014 Arkansas Governor's Race

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Democrat Bill Halter is dropping out of the 2014 race for Arkansas governor.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Democrat Bill Halter is dropping out of the 2014 race for Arkansas governor.

He made the announcement in the following email to supporters Monday morning:

You're one of my most valuable supporters, so I wanted you to hear this first, and direct from me.

By a combination of work, luck, and your support, I have benefited from great opportunities. About half of my career has been spent in the private sector working with innovative companies and the other half in public service, including in the White House Budget Office, as the Chief Operating Officer of Social Security, and as Lieutenant Governor. None of these opportunities could have happened without help from some of you, and some of these opportunities could not have happened without help from almost all of you. I am grateful to you.

I believe that we ought to be a society where everyone has the chance to live up to their God-given potential. We can't guarantee that everyone will succeed, but we can guarantee that everyone will have an opportunity to succeed if they work hard and they're responsible.

That's why I entered the race for Governor of Arkansas. Our campaign plan was to advance a set of ideas to move our state forward in education while creating jobs and improving living standards -- all without raising taxes and while making state government operate more efficiently. Our first proposal, The Arkansas Promise, would provide full tuition for higher education for those who earn it and build on the great success of the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship program. Thanks to the help and support of Arkansans, we passed a constitutional amendment creating the scholarship lottery that to date has provided over 100,000 scholarships totaling over $300 million without raising taxes. You have demonstrated that big improvements are possible.

But since we announced our gubernatorial campaign, another strong candidate has entered the primary election, and in order to avoid a divisive primary and to help unite the Democratic Party, I am ending my campaign for Governor. I congratulate Mike Ross on a great start to his campaign, and I will be working hard to elect him and other Democratic nominees for office in the coming election.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross is thanking former challenger Bill Halter for his support.

Soon after Halter's announcement, Ross issued the following statement:

"Bill Halter called me this morning and told me his decision to exit the Governor's race. I thanked him for his many years of service to the state of Arkansas, and said that I hope he continues to pursue public service. It's clear Bill loves Arkansas and cares deeply for the people of this great state.

"I am honored by his kind comments in support of my candidacy for Governor. I am proud to have his support, and I welcome all of his supporters to join our campaign focused on Arkansas's future.

"Holly and I send Bill, Shanti and his entire family all our best."

(story contributed by KARK, Little Rock)

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