Lt. Gov. Darr leaning toward U.S. Senate bid

story by Ryan Saylor
rsaylor@thecitywire.com

"Right now, it would be very good."

That was the answer Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Darr gave The City Wire on Monday when asked the likelihood that he would challenge U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Little Rock, for his seat in the U.S. Senate.

Darr said his decision about running for senate would not be made until after the end of the legislative session.

"I'm going to make the decision here in the next few months whether I am going to run for re-election, senate or possibly something else," Darr said. "That decision is yet to be determined."

The only thing certain at this point is that he will not enter the Republican primary for governor, Darr said.

He said former Republican Congressman Asa Hutchinson was more than qualified for the position, making the decision an easy one for Darr.

"Asa brings the experience and the ability that we need in that position to run for governor," he said. "that was my main reason for supporting Asa."

Darr said that in addition to exploring a run for the senate, he was exploring other options, as well.

"Either I'll run for re-election or I won't," Darr said, adding that he was also exploring "federal" races.

Sure to peak interest of Arkansas politicos and journalists alike, Darr said he and his wife, Kim, were exploring a move away from Springdale.

"Without going into too much detail, even with my lieutenant governor run, commuting has been tough," he said. "Kim and I have been looking at moving back to central or south Arkansas. Not for political reasons, but for family reasons."

The possibility of moving to either of those two areas of of the state could position Darr to enter races to replace U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock, or U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, should either decide to pursue a different office.

Darr would not provide further information about a possible run for Congress except to say, "I have to think that Tom's happy where he's at. If he's not, he'll make that clear."

No matter what office Darr decides to pursue next, he said it all depends on whether or not there are qualified candidates.

But he said as it looks right now, the senate will likely be his next race.

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"Obviously, if we don't have a candidate more qualified than myself, then I would definitely jump in," he said. "To answer your question, Kim and I are considering all options. The only one off the table is running for governor in 2014."

Aside from Pryor, there are no other announced candidates for U.S. Senate at this time.

An attempt to reach Pryor's office for comment was unsuccessful.

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