Gubernatorial candidate Bill Halter announced today that he is withdrawing from the Democratic primary for governor. In an announcement on his web site he said he wanted to avoid a divisive primary and help unite the Democratic Party.
“… since we announced our gubernatorial campaign, another strong candidate has entered the primary election, and in order to avoid a divisive primary and to help unite the Democratic Party, I am ending my campaign for Governor,” Halter said. “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.”
The full text of Halter’s announcement:
By a combination of work, luck, and your support, I have benefited from great opportunities. About half of my career has been spent in the private sector working with innovative companies and the other half in public service, including in the White House Budget Office, as the Chief Operating Officer of Social Security, and as Lieutenant Governor. None of these opportunities could have happened without help from some of you, and some of these opportunities could not have happened without help from almost all of you. I am grateful to you. I believe that we ought to be a society where everyone has the chance to live up to their God-given potential. We can’t guarantee that everyone will succeed, but we can guarantee that everyone will have an opportunity to succeed if they work hard and they’re responsible.
That’s why I entered the race for Governor of Arkansas. Our campaign plan was to advance a set of ideas to move our state forward in education while creating jobs and improving living standards — all without raising taxes and while making state government operate more efficiently. Our first proposal, The Arkansas Promise, would provide full tuition for higher education for those who earn it and build on the great success of the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship program. Thanks to the help and support of Arkansans, we passed a constitutional amendment creating the scholarship lottery that to date has provided over 100,000 scholarships totaling over $300 million without raising taxes. You have demonstrated that big improvements are possible.
But since we announced our gubernatorial campaign, another strong candidate has entered the primary election, and in order to avoid a divisive primary and to help unite the Democratic Party, I am ending my campaign for Governor. 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.
While this is a disappointing outcome for our campaign today, Shanti and I choose to focus on the many positives that you have provided us for years. For example, because of your overwhelming vote in 2008, thousands of students who never considered college an option are now pursuing opportunities to achieve a better future for themselves, their families, and our entire state. Because of your compassion and energy, over 1,000 volunteers came together to provide a free health clinic to Arkansans.
We have been very fortunate to have the dedication of extraordinarily talented and hardworking teams both on our campaigns and while in office. They tirelessly and effectively pushed for policies and ideals to advance our state. We are profoundly grateful to the thousands of Arkansans from every part of the state who have provided encouragement and endorsed our candidacy. Over 2,500 people from all 75 Arkansas counties have volunteered for our campaign. We will never forget all you have done on our behalf. I ask you to remain engaged and continue to devote your efforts to improving Arkansas and America.
Shanti and I are proud to be raising our daughters here, and we’ll continue to do all we can to build a brighter future for them and for all Arkansans.