With the bombshell news from Dustin McDaniel that he had an “inappropriate” relationship with Hot Springs attorney Andi Davis, it appears the door is wide open for a Democratic challenger to his heir-apparent ascension to the term-limited Gov. Mike Beebe.  Many eyes are turning to former Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter who is on a Disney Cruise currently with his family.

But some Democrats might be looking to a name that seemed to drop out a few months back – soon to be former Congressman Mike Ross. An unnamed source close to Ross tells me that the Congressman has received a lot of calls to reconsider his decision.

It makes sense if you think about it.  The Democratic establishment has never warmed to Halter.  They were ready to get behind McDaniel with his over million dollar campaign war chest, but it is obvious his problems now are not really going away.

Ross’ biggest hurdle was his conservative bent, which turned off some of the more liberal elements of the party. Perhaps now they will be able to get past this.  In fact, his support today for a ban on high-capacity assault weapons might have been an olive branch to the base of his party.

Still, it would take some backtracking. It is unclear what it would take to get out of his commitment to work for Southwest Power Pool in government relations. But if he ever had an excuse to change his mind, this would certainly be it.

Roby Brock sat down with Ross for an exclusive interview for Talk Business – on Monday, the day before the news of McDaniel broke.  Ross gave an interesting answer when asked if he would support anyone for governor in 2014.

“No, I don’t think so. Look, I wish them all well. We’ll let the voters decide. I never have believed that endorsements really matter in Arkansas any way. People are pretty independent. They study the issues. The voters here are smart – a lot smarter than some people give them credit… If I wanted to be actively involved in the Governor’s race, I would have run myself,” said Ross.

Will he?  Who knows but Democrats would be crazy not to ask him to reconsider.  He might be their only chance to get the governor’s office.

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Jason Tolbert
Jason Tolbert is the moderator for his opinion blog, The Tolbert Report. He can be reached by e-mail at Jason@TolbertReport.com. Follow him on Twitter: @TolbertReport.