LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Legal Newsline) -- Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has dropped out of the race for governor.

In a statement posted on his website last week, McDaniel said he had hoped he could shape the 2014 gubernatorial debate with his "vision for the future."

"Unfortunately, I am now convinced that if I run for governor, this campaign would be about me personally, rather than Arkansas's future," he said, referring to continued questions about an extramarital relationship.

"When it comes to our economy, our infrastructure and our schools -- Arkansas is at a crossroads. I believe that we need a visionary to lead our state forward on these critical issues. Arkansas deserves a campaign that will focus on those issues, so I believe it's in the best interests of my family, our state and the Democratic Party for me to not run for governor."

According to Arkansas Business, McDaniel admitted last month to an "inappropriate" relationship with Hot Springs attorney Andrea Davis.

Davis handled five cases involving the Attorney General's Office, the news site reported.

McDaniel said he will spend his last two years as the state's top lawyer focused on "issues that matter to Arkansas," including fighting Medicaid fraud and standing up for consumers.

"I pledge that our next attorney general will inherit one of the most well-run offices in the United States, and I will leave grateful for the tremendous honor of having served," he said, according to his statement.

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

Beebe, who was re-elected governor in 2010, cannot run again because of the state's term limits.

According to Arkansas Business, former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, a Democrat, joined the race following McDaniel's announcement.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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