Democrats respond to McDaniel dropping out of governor's race

    10:31 PM, Jan 25, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A little more than two weeks after Attorney General Dustin McDaniel told supporters he could move forward from the affair and run an honest campaign for Governor his tune changes. Friday McDaniel issued a statement saying he does not want this race to be about him personally and for that reason he's dropping out.

    "After going through this blaze of publicity, kind of focus on his family and I think that's best for him and his family at this time," says Chair of the Arkansas Democratic Party Will Bond.

    Bond says the party will move forward with other strong candidates, but admits McDaniel has the makings of a great leader.

    "It would have been something that kept coming up, but I think it's more of a family personal issue," says Bond.

    Political strategist Robert McLarty believes McDaniel could have overcome the public blemish, but understands his decision.

    "You know I think Dustin did the right thing for what he thought was best for the state and best for his family. And best for the future of talking about issues that are going to matter verses talking about a personal background that is going to continue to haunt through the campaign," says McLarty.

    McLarty says names for a replacement are already buzzing.

    "Chris Thomason from Hope, Keith Ingram from eastern Arkansas is a name I've heard of. Robert Thompson from northeast Arkansas is a name I've heard. And of course John Burkhalter who's here in the Little Rock area," says McLarty.

    As to the roughly million dollars raised by the McDaniel campaign. Most will be returned to donors.

    "We will pay the expenses to close out our campaign and we'll be following the appropriate election law to return the remainder to our donors. General and run-off money will be returned dollar-for-dollar, and primary funds will be returned pro rata to donors," says McDaniel.

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