State Auditor Charlie Daniels, a nearly eternal state officeholder, is hanging it up. He won’t seek re-election in 2014, he announced today. He’d previously served as land commissioner (five terms) and secretary of state (two terms). He’s 73 and won 70 percent of the vote in 2010, but says he’s ready to retire.

This further opens the field to a Republican challenger in reddening Arkansas. Republican State Rep. Andrea Lea has said she might run. A Republican even more conservative than Lea, Ken Yang of Benton, is already in the race.

Daniels’ name, the same as that of a well-known country musician, has always been credited for his electoral success, but he also was a capable politician with roots deep in what was once a one-party state. It was not name alone that made him the biggest vote getter of the 2002 election cycle, when he won re-election as secretary of state against a challenge by then-First Lady Janet Huckabee. (That might have also had something to do with his opponent.)


Daniels’ news release follows: