Darr says he won't run for Ark. governor in 2014

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Lt. Gov. Mark Darr says he's not running for governor in 2014.

Darr said in a statement Tuesday that he's received support and encouragement to join the gubernatorial race, but that it's not the right choice for him now. He instead threw his support behind Asa Hutchinson.

Hutchinson unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2006 against then-Attorney General Mike Beebe. He recently said that he "fully expects" to run again in 2014 but that he is focusing on his work with a National Rifle Association study on school safety, and would continue that focus for at least the next few months.

Darr said last month that he was seriously considering running against Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor or a re-election bid. No Republicans have announced a bid to challenge Pryor, who is seeking a third term. Darr said he would announce his final decision after the legislative session ends.

Darr's announcement comes after Democratic Attorney General Dustin McDaniel dropped out of the gubernatorial race last month. Gov. Mike Beebe is barred by term limits from running for re-election.

Lt. Governor Darr's full statement said:

"I have fielded many questions over the past few months from friends and supporters concerning the 2014 Gubernatorial Race. I have received support and encouragement to run for this office and I am very humbled and appreciative.

"During this time, Kim and I have prayerfully considered this important decision. We have decided that this race is not the right choice for us at this time.

"I am happy to announce my support of my friend, Asa Hutchinson for Governor of our great state. I intend to do anything that Asa deems helpful to assist him in his race for our state's highest office.

"In January, I said that I would be announcing my future plans formally, after the current legislative session's completion, and I will do so."