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McDaniel anticipating pricey governor's contest

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is gearing up for a costly battle in the race for the Arkansas governor's office in two years, saying Tuesday that he expects it to be the most expensive in state history.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is gearing up for a costly battle in the race for the Arkansas governor's office in two years, saying Tuesday that he expects it to be the most expensive in state history.

McDaniel, a Democrat and the only announced candidate for the state's top office, said he anticipates his campaign will cost $10 million to $12 million - at least double what two-term Gov. Mike Beebe raised when he won re-election in 2010. Term limits bar Beebe from seeking re-election in 2014.

"It's a lot of money, but it's expensive to get your message out," he said Tuesday in an interview with the Talk Business website. "It's important to make sure you have the best quality organization available and I'm prepared to do what needs to be done to run an effective campaign."

The attorney general said he'll start raising money soon.

"It'll be the most expensive race for governor in the history of Arkansas and so obviously, you want to take some time to start putting together some money," he said. "In reality, people won't see the true vestiges of the campaign until next year."

McDaniel, a former state representative from Jonesboro, is the first person to enter what's expected to be a crowded race. He said his early entry into the race proves his enthusiasm.

"I believe that Arkansas' best days are to come and I'm very excited about the idea of a new generation having the opportunity to lead us into that era," he said. "So that's why I want to run for governor and that's why I want to share my vision with the people of Arkansas over time."

McDaniel is considered a front-runner after retiring Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Ross announced he wouldn't enter the governor's race, instead opting for a job with Southwest Power Pool.

So far, no Republicans have announced a bid for governor.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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