Former Arkansas Rep. Mike Ross will announce on April 17 that he's running for governor, according to an email sent out Tuesday by a local Democratic chapter within the state.
Ross will fly to different cities throughout Arkansas on the day of his announcement, said Democratic insider Gary Grimes, who is not working for the campaign but is helping coordinate an event in Fort Smith. Grimes said Ross likely will hold events in Prescott, Texarkana, Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Jonesboro and Little Rock.
Speculation about a Ross gubernatorial bid has been growing since he told the AP last month that he was reconsidering the gubernatorial contest. He resigned from his job at Southwest Power Pool last week to “pursue another opportunity in public service,” according to a statement put out by the company.
Ross’ entrance to the race almost guarantees a fierce primary fight between different Democratic factions within the state. Former Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter announced in late January that he would seek the party’s nomination. Halter’s campaign said Wednesday that it had raised more than $1 million between January 31 and March 31. More than $360,000 came from donors, while Halter loaned his campaign $640,000, according to a release from the campaign. State Highway Commissioner John Burkhalter is also considering a run for the Democratic nomination, but said last month that he hadn't made a decision and had been “traveling around the state” and listening to ideas.
On the Republican side, former Rep. Asa Hutchinson, who recently unveiled the NRA’s school safety report, is expected to compete for the party’s nomination. Safe Foods CEO Curtis Coleman has also filed.