Editor’s note: A full video of McDaniel’s press conference and his prepared remarks can be found at the bottom of this post.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, the only declared Democrat for Governor, met with the press to answer questions about an admitted affair, declaring he remained in the race and dispelling rumors that he says are unfounded.
McDaniel said the affair with Hot Springs attorney Andrea “Andi” Davis was “entirely on me.”
“I was married, she was not. I was the one in a position of public trust,” McDaniel said.
He admitted that he and Davis met “less than a half dozen times” in 2011 after being introduced in late 2010.
In today’s press conference, McDaniel requested forgiveness from Arkansas voters and campaign supporters and emphasized that the affair was an isolated indiscretion.
“There is no other shoe to drop,” said McDaniel in stating that he remained in the race for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2014.
He stood against a blue backdrop on a dais at the Wyndham Hotel in North Little Rock. McDaniel’s wife, Bobbi, walked out with him from behind the backdrop, winked as he stepped on to the stage, then sat in the audience. Afterwards, the couple hugged.
He said the two of them had “moved on” from the admission and that her “grace” and “forgiveness” had allowed their relationship to remain intact.
“Before I begin, I want to thank and publicly apologize to my wife Bobbi. She is an amazing and wonderful woman who has done nothing to deserve the pain I have caused her. It’s only because of her love and forgiveness that I can stand here today. Bobbi is here with me today but I’ll be handling this press conference on my own. This situation is entirely my fault, so I cannot ask her to stand up here simply for the purpose of easing my burden,” McDaniel said in prepared remarks.
Under questioning from the media, McDaniel said the affair was a lapse of judgment and character and admitting it was “the most painful experience of my life that I can recall.”
McDaniel said today’s press conference was to confess what he had done was “wrong,” but he said he wanted to be “equally clear about what I have not done wrong.”
“I continue to hear that rumors are swirling about whether some other shoe will drop. There is no other shoe to drop. There are no other women. No litigation was ever comprised. No rules of professional conduct were violated. No state resources, dollars or personnel were used for personal purposes,” he said. “I made mistake, for which I have taken and continue to take responsibility.”
He said his staff had no culpability in the affair and that the office of the Attorney General was not compromised in the integrity of its work. There have been five identified cases in which Davis was an attorney in a matter involving the AG’s office.
“My staff had no knowledge of my personal interaction with Ms. Davis, and it had no bearing on how our office handled the cases involving her,” he said.
He also touched on a murder investigation involving a man named Maxwell Anderson, who was shot at Davis’ home in February 2012. The matter is still under investigation and no charges have been filed.
“I have never communicated with Ms. Davis or anyone else about the facts or circumstances surrounding Mr. Anderson’s death,” McDaniel said. “I have no knowledge of the status of the investigation. The Attorney General’s office has no role or jurisdiction in this investigation, and I have never communicated with law enforcement about it. In short, I don’t know anything about it.”
For now, McDaniel said he intended to weather the storm and remain as a candidate for Governor in 2014. He claimed that no contributors had asked for refunds of their campaign checks and that he hoped to share his vision for Arkansas policy in the near-future.
“We are committed to moving forward with my campaign for governor in 2014. I do so humbly recognizing that I need to earn the second chance I’m asking for. I have loved serving the people of Arkansas, and I hope that I’ll have the opportunity to continue to do so,” he said.
Republican Asa Hutchinson said he intends to run for Governor in 2014 and North Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman has filed exploratory paperwork for the office.
UPDATE: Late Tuesday, Davis responded to the McDaniel press conference. Talk Business blogger Michael Cook reports that Davis suggested the relationship was more than a “limited interaction.”
“There were over 500 text exchanges in 2011 and through February 2012. There simply is not a point in coming forward and volunteering this information unless honest answers are provided. I am not going to comment about a lie with a mistruth. Again, it is a waste of time. And these 500 plus text exchanges between myself and Dustin have been preserved in the Arkansas Crime Lab so they obviously will eventually be provided to the masses for review. I am not going through this again when they are released. Therefore, the press conference was immensely short-sighted, hence — disappointing,” she wrote.
Davis had more commentary, which you can read at this link.
You can read the full text of McDaniel’s prepared remarks here. A video of the press conference, including answers to media questions, appears below.