Huckabee's former legal counsel running for Ark. AG

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Legal Newsline) -- Mike Huckabee's legal counsel when he was running for president, and when he was governor of Arkansas, is making a run for Arkansas attorney general.

Leslie Rutledge, a Republican, made the formal announcement Monday.

According to her campaign website, Rutledge was expected to make stops in five cities -- her hometown of Batesville, then Little Rock, Springdale, Jonesboro and Texarkana -- announcing her run.

A graduate of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and the William H. Bowen School of Law in Little Rock, Rutledge began her career as a clerk for Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Josephine Hart, now a justice on the state Supreme Court.

She served as deputy counsel for Huckabee when he was governor, and legal counsel on his presidential campaign.

Rutledge also worked as legal counsel for the Republican National Committee.

She is currently practicing law at The Rutledge Firm PLLC in Little Rock.

She will face David Sterling, a private practice lawyer from North Little Rock, for the GOP nomination.

Sterling announced he was running for attorney general in May.

A self-described conservative Republican, Sterling currently practices law with the firm of Cox, Sterling & McClure PLLC, where he focuses on business, commercial and contract law.

He also served as assistant city manager of Hope, Ark., from 1997 to 1998.

He holds a master's degree in public administration in addition to his law degree, both from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

According to his campaign website, Sterling also is a member of the Christian Legal Society, the Federalist Society, the Republican National Lawyers Association and the National Rifle Association.

Both Rutledge and Sterling are seeking to take over for current Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, a Democrat, who is barred by term limits from running for re-election.

McDaniel assumed the Attorney General's Office in January 2007, succeeding Mike Beebe, the state's current governor. He was re-elected in 2010.

McDaniel was running for governor, but dropped out of the race in January amid questions about an extramarital relationship.

Marvin Childers, a former state legislator and now a lobbyist for the Poultry Federation, is rumored to join the race to be the state's next top lawyer. He, too, is a Republican.

So far, no Democrats have announced they are running.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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