LITTLE ROCK — Former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter boasted Wednesday of raising $1 million in two months for his 2014 run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
Halter loaned nearly two-thirds of the total — $640,000 — to his campaign, raised $360,000 in contributions and garnered an additional $1 million in commitments, spokesman Bud Jackson said.
Halter did not provide a campaign finance report for the first quarter of the year. Reports on fundraising from Jan. 1 through March 31 are not due to be filed with the secretary of state’s office until April 15.
Halter’s campaign also said Wednesday that 1,000 people representing all 75 Arkansas counties have signed on to volunteer for Halter.
The Halter campaign announcement came a day after reports that a potential rival for the Democratic nomination, former Congressman Mike Ross, had resigned from his job at Southwest Power Pool to seek an opportunity in “public service.”
Jackson brushed aside the notion that Halter’s fundraising announcement was timed to discourage Ross from running for governor.
“We’re focused on our own campaign. What Mike Ross does or has not done is irrelevant to us touting our own success,” he said.
Ross announced in July 2011 that he would not seek a seventh U.S. House term but left open the possibility of running for governor in 2014. Last May, he announced he would not run for governor and instead would go to work for Southwest Power Pool in Little Rock as a senior vice president for government affairs and public relations.
He apparently began reconsidering a run for governor after Attorney General Dustin McDaniel bowed out as a Democratic candidate Jan. 25 after admitting he had an extramarital affair with Hot Springs lawyer Andi Davis in 2011.
The same day McDaniel dropped out, Halter announced his candidacy and so far is the only Democrat to do so.
Two Republicans have announced their intentions to run for governor next year — former Congressman Asa Hutchinson and businessman Curtis Coleman.