House Speaker eyes 2014 gubernatorial bid

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 56 views 

The race to succeed Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe may get a little more crowded following news this morning (April 24) that House Speaker Davy Carter, R-Cabot, is considering a run for the top job.

Carter, who served as Arkansas' first Republican Speaker of the House in more than a century during the most recent legislative session, acknowledged his interest during an appearance on 96.5 KHTE-FM in central Arkansas.

"You know, I'm thinking about the governor's race," he said. "But you know, I really just won't get out of the marble walls there for some time and get my arms around everything and get my head clear."

He said any official announcement of his intentions would not be forthcoming until he had the time to carefully consider his options.

"Those are big decisions and sometimes when we're in the capitol, in that atmosphere for 18 hours a day, you know sometimes to question some thoughts that you have. But I want to get my mind right and talk to the people close to me and make that decision. But I am thinking about it, I just think Arkansas' in a spot right now where somebody's going to have to be in that can follow Governor Beebe, that can reach out and work in the middle and work with all parties and (be) committed to doing what's best for the state, regardless of partisan politics."

Prior to acknowledging his interest in moving into the Governor's Mansion, Carter took what could be his first swipe of the campaign at Democrat Mike Ross, who last week told The City Wire in an exclusive interview that the Republican-controlled legislature was "taking us back to the past."

"I heard where Mike Ross said the other day that this was one of the most partisan sessions in the history of the state and I don't think that could be any more inaccurate or out of touch," he said.

He went on to say leaders in Washington needed to get their act together.

"Washington literally could take a lesson from the good folks here in Arkansas on how to govern. I really, really do mean that," he said.

Democratic Party of Arkansas spokeswoman Candace Martin said this afternoon that Democrats have led the way on public policy during the first part of this year, even with the electoral gains enjoyed by Republicans.

"Certainly during the legislative session where the leadership of Governor Beebe and the hard work of the Arkansas Democrats led to the strong standing behind the private option for health care, making sure that we passed that first so we could balance our state budget."

David Ray, spokesman for the Republican Party of Arkansas, said Carter's interest in moving from Speaker of the House to governor shows just how far the Republican Party has come in a short amount of time.

"The fact that so many are interested in running for governor is a commentary of how strong the Republican Party is within the state," he said.

Carter said his decision on whether or not to run for governor will depend on what's best for his family and the state.

"It's just too important for all of us. I've got three kids. You know I love the state and I want to see what's best for the state," he said.

Other announced candidates in the Republican gubernatorial primary are former 3rd District Congressman Asa Hutchinson and North Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman. On the Democratic side, former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter is the only other announced candidate in addition to Ross.