Republican David Sterling has officially entered the 2014 attorney general's race and will report raising slightly more than $50,000 in the first three months of this year, according to a press release from his campaign.
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, a Democrat, is term limited and not eligible for re-election. The office has been seen as a path to the Arkansas Governor’s office. Gov. Mike Beebe (D) and former Govs. Bill Clinton (D) and Jim Guy Tucker (D) were elected to the AG post prior to serving as governor.
The early level of support has been humbling, Sterling said, adding that his message is resonating with voters.
"The federal government is creeping in on state authority and individual liberty. Voters are responding to my message about the importance of the Attorney General's office in defending the constitution, especially the 10th amendment that grants broad powers to the states and individuals," he said in the release.
Sterling, who said as recently as March 4 that he was merely exploring a run, has said in order to be competitive and have a shot at winning the race, he would need to raise as much as $1.5 million, far from the $50,000 he will report having raised.
Holding a law degree, as well as a master's degree in public administration, Sterling previously told The City Wire he feels qualified to hold the position as the state's top lawyer.
He has never held elected office before, though his previous experience in government includes a stint as assistant city manager of Hope for a little more than a year in the late 1990s.
Sterling, a lawyer at a private practice in North Little Rock, is the first announced candidate for attorney general. The only other person to publicly acknowledge interest in running for attorney general is Sen. Robert Thompson, D-Paragould.
Thompson has previously said a decision on whether to run for attorney general would be made after the end of the legislative session.
Other candidates rumored to be exploring a run include:
• current Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's Chief of Staff Blake Rutherford, a Democrat;
• Arkansas House Speaker Davy Carter, R-Cabot, and,
• University of Arkansas Community College at Hope Chancellor Chris Thomason, a Democrat and former prosecuting attorney for Arkansas' 8th Judicial District.