Arkansas highway commissioner John Burkhalter says he will announce for statewide office on Tuesday, but which office he’ll seek remains a mystery.
Burkhalter’s name has floated for months as a potential Democratic challenger for Arkansas Governor. Former Fourth District Congressman Mike Ross and former Lt. Governor Bill Halter have both declared for that primary race already.
Burkhalter has also been encouraged to look at another statewide constitutional office, such as Lt. Governor. No Democrats have publicly expressed interest in that seat.
A media advisory on behalf of Burkhalter said, “Tomorrow, Tuesday June 11, Arkansas small business owner and entrepreneur John Burkhalter will announce his candidacy for statewide office. Members of the media are invited to join a conference call at 2 p.m. with Burkhalter to discuss his intentions.”
The advisory came from Zac Wright with Wright Strategies, a Little Rock-based consulting firm that has worked with Gov. Mike Beebe (D) and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel’s abandoned Democratic gubernatorial campaign.
Burkhalter is a private businessman who has been very successful in engineering, contracting and property development. He and his wife, Penny, and their two children live in Little Rock and have been active in a number of charitable causes.
A former Arkansas Economic Development Commission member, he received his degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas in 1980.
He also has close political ties with former Pres. Bill Clinton and Gov. Mike Beebe.