By ANDREW DeMILLO Associated Press
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A person who has spoken with Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said McDaniel will drop out of the 2014 governor's race Friday.
The person with whom McDaniel has shared his plans says the Democratic attorney general will make the official announcement later in the day. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because McDaniel hadn't yet made that announcement.
McDaniel has faced questions about his future in the race since he admitted to an "inappropriate" relationship last month with Hot Springs attorney Andrea Davis.
Davis was the opposing counsel in five cases handled by McDaniel's office, including a school choice lawsuit the state lost. McDaniel has said no ethics rules were violated and said the litigation wasn't compromised by the relationship.
McDaniel, who has been married since 2009, has publicly apologized for the relationship and promised reporters "there is no other shoe to drop." He said earlier this month he planned to move forward with his campaign.
"I allowed a lapse of character and judgment to hurt my family, my friends and my reputation," McDaniel told a Jan. 8 news conference. "For that, I am deeply ashamed and very sorry."
McDaniel said he and Davis met during his 2010 re-election bid and the two had "limited" interaction in 2011. McDaniel told reporters earlier this month the two were in each other's presence less than half a dozen times, including at public events. Davis has claimed the two exchanged more than 500 text messages in 2011 and 2012.
McDaniel was the only announced Democratic candidate for governor until Friday, and had raised more than $1.4 million since launching his bid in June.
Former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter announced he would seek the Democratic nomination for governor moments after reports of McDaniel's dropping out surfaced. A spokesman said Halter would file paperwork to make his bid official next week. Highway Commissioner John Burkhalter also is considering a run.
"Over the holidays my family and I talked about the demands a campaign for governor would place on us," Halter said in a prepared statement released by his campaign. "We decided as a family that we are up for the challenge. That's why next week I will take the first necessary step towards running for governor in 2014."
The current Democratic governor, Mike Beebe, is barred by term limits from seeking re-election next year.
Former Congressman Asa Hutchinson announced earlier this month he would seek the Republican gubernatorial nomination.
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