It was fun while it lasted. House Speaker Davy Carter won’t make a Republican race for governor. Asa Hutchinson, Rep. Debra Hobbs and Curtis Coleman, at least, will fight it out for the nomination.
Instead, Carter has taken a banking executive position. (See jump for news release.) He’ll be executive vice president of Home Bancshares. He previously was a division president for Centennial Bank in Cabot, part of the Home banking group.
His statement this morning:
After much deliberation, I have decided against a campaign for Governor at this time. In the past weeks I have had many calls of encouragement and offers of support from fellow Republicans, Independents and yes, even Democrats, all of which I very much appreciate. I love this state and I love public service. Although I will be returning to the private sector, I will find ways to remain involved in public service in Arkansas in the years ahead.
As several have noted, an open call this week by Carter for some moderation on the Republican Party’s press for gun and abortion issues (and he’s also viewed by some GOPers as squishy on religious issues) was not a particularly effective way to set the tone for a GOP primary. It makes him an appealing crossover candidate, but will dog him forever, I’d say, on any future Republican ambitions.
Mike Ross and Bill Halter, so far, are the sole combatants on the Democratic side. Carter’s decision is a benefit to the Democratic nominee. The likelihood is that the winner — and you’d have to make Ross the favorite at this point — will face Asa Hutchinson, three times a loser in statewide races.