Halter drops out of governor race, remaining candidates react

Without a single vote being cast, the field competing to be the next governor of Arkansas narrowed by one today.

Former Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter says he is dropping out, leaving a clear path for former congressman and fellow Democrat Mike Ross to the general election.

Halter told supporters his official reason for dropping out of the governor's race was to avoid a divisive and probably expensive primary battle with Ross.

Halter entered the race back in January on the same day Attorney General Dustin McDaniel dropped out.

Since Ross jumped in the race, most of the party money has flowed his way.

Halter said in a statement, "I congratulate Mike Ross on a great start to his campaign and I will be working hard to elect him and other democratic nominees for office in the coming election."

Ross replied in part, "I am honored by his kind comments in support of my candidacy for governor. I am proud to have his support and I welcome all of his supporters to join our campaign..."

Asa Hutchinson, who at this time still has two challengers in the Republican Primary, used Halter's withdrawal as an opportunity to take a shot at Ross, "In contrast to the Democrat candidate, I have constantly opposed Obamacare... As the campaign progresses the differences will become even more clear to voters." {}

The Arkansas Republican Party also took a shot in a statement wondering, "How long will it take political opportunist Mike Ross to flip flop again and pretend he never changed his positions on abortion and the second amendment?"{}

State Democrats also issued a statement commending Halter for his dedication and public service, noting his role in creating the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery. {}

KATV has been unable to get statements from the two other Republican candidates for governor, Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman and State Representative Debra Hobbs.