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Tuesday, November 01, 2005 

Halter: A Challenge For Beebe

Halter amasses $507,178 in 10 days

Possible Democratic candidate for governor Bill Halter filed his first finance report Monday and it shows him raising $507,178 in 10 days, most of it from out of state.
About $23,000, less than 5 percent of his contributions, came from Arkansans. That includes $4,000 from his father, William A. Halter of North Little Rock.
Halter has formed an exploratory committee but hasn’t announced whether he will run in 2006. He’s from North Little Rock and was an official in President Clinton’s administration.
Halter explained that he has plenty of time to raise money in Arkansas.
“It’s in the early days of the campaign,” he said. “We’ve gotten contributions from friends from grade school, high school, college, business associates and folks that I’ve known from all parts of my life. It’s only 10 days of contributions. The type of contributions will change over time.”
He said he would refund the money if he decides not to run.
Attorney General Mike Beebe is the lone announced Democratic candidate for governor in 2006, and former Congressman Asa Hutchinson is the only Republican candidate so far.
Beebe has raised $1.77 million and Hutchinson $632,449 through the third quarter of 2005.
Beebe campaign manager Chris Masingill continued with his policy of declining comment on Halter since Halter hasn’t decided whether to run.
But Masingill did point out that the vast majority of Beebe’s contributions are from Arkansans. About 11 percent of Beebe’s contributions for the third quarter were from out of state. Hutchinson’s percentage of outof-state donations was about 12 percent.
Hutchinson’s campaign also declined to comment on Halter’s report.
Halter’s campaign issued a news release about the report Friday and called news media late Friday to say the report would be filed by the close of business that day. But a campaign official called later to say it would be filed Monday because they couldn’t get it filed as quickly as he initially thought.
A news release from Halter on Monday touted money that he’s received from several associates of Clinton and former federal government officials.
That list includes Clinton’s 1992 campaign manager David Wilhelm of Bexley, Ohio; former Democratic National Committee Chairman Steve Grossman of Newton, Mass.; former Social Security Commissioner Ken Apfel of Austin, Texas; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Nancy Ann DeParle of Washington; and Jim Breyer of Woodside, Calif., the former president of the National Venture Capital Association.
Former state Democratic Party Chairman Ron Oliver of North Little Rock gave $500.
Halter said he picked those people to illustrate the type of donors who give to his campaign. He said Arkansans will appreciate the list because it shows that “strong active Democrats” and people who know about Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare support him. He said these are programs that are important to Arkansans.
Halter obtained numerous contributions from California, the home of Stanford University where he received his bachelor’s degree and for which he was a trustee.
Halter also may have benefited from a network of graduates from Catholic High School in Little Rock, his alma mater.
Chris Hart of Washington, D.C., a classmate of Halter’s at Catholic, sent an e-mail Sept. 26 to members of the Catholic High class of 1979 seeking donations by Sept. 30, so that that they could be reported in Halter’s monthly report.
“Bill Halter, from our class, has entered the race to be the next Governor of Arkansas,” Hart said in the e-mail.
Hart said in an interview later that he knows that Halter is “technically... exploring” running and that he has no knowledge that Halter has decided to run.
Halter said he hasn’t decided when he will decide whether he’ll run. He also considered running for governor in 2002 but didn’t follow through.
Ethics Commission Director Graham Sloan said if a candidate with an exploratory committee doesn’t run, money left over can either be returned to the donor, turned over to the state for general revenue, given to a nonprofit group, or distributed to a political party.
Halter’s report details contributions and expenses in September. He reported spending $6,850, leaving him with $500,328 cash on hand.
His expenses were to Andrew B. Duggan of Washington ($900) and Ryan Grindler of Great Falls, Va., ($2,000) for fundraising and to NGP Software Inc. of Washington ($3,950) for advertising.
Halter’s contributions were filed in two reports at the secretary of state’s office. One is for general election contributions and shows $188,000. The other is for the primary election and shows $319,178.
The maximum donation by an individual per election is $2,000.
“We’ve told people they can take $2,000 for the primary and go ahead and take $2,000 for the general, but they have to put that general money in a separate account and can’t use any of it until they advance from the primary,” Sloan said. “If they don’t advance from the primary, they have to return [donations for the general election ] to their contributors.”
Beebe’s money is split with $1.6 million for the primary and $161,010 for the general election.
Hutchinson has only filed reports for the primary.
Halter, 44, served as deputy commissioner and acting commissioner of the Social Security Administration during Clinton’s presidency.
He also was an adviser in the Office of Management and Budget. He said he now works as a business consultant for high-technology firms.
He and his fiancee recently bought a house in North Little Rock. He previously lived in Washington but kept his voter registration in Arkansas listed at his father’s house in North Little Rock, where he grew up.
Little Rock record store owner Rod Bryan has said he’ll run as an independent and former state Rep. Jim Lendall, D-Mabelvale, will run as a Green Party candidate. Bryan has raised $3,850 and Lendall, $5,000.

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