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Thursday, December 01, 2005 

Halter Adds Another $142,085 to Coffers

Possible candidate Bill Halter of North Little Rock filed his second monthly exploratory committee finance report Wednesday. It shows he raised $142,085 in October. The vast majority of his contributions came from out of state. He reported $4,535 — less than 5 percent of his donations — from Arkansans. “Bill Halter is not yet even a candidate but he is already demonstrating an ability to bring resources into Arkansas rather than pull them out,” Halter spokesman Bud Jackson said. Halter, a Democrat and a former administrator at the Social Security Administration under President Clinton, has filed an exploratory committee for the governor’s race. The only announced Democratic candidate for governor in 2006 is Attorney General Mike Beebe. The only announced Republican candidate is former U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson. As announced candidates, their reports are due quarterly, not monthly as is the case with candidates with exploratory committees.
The next quarterly report isn’t due until Jan. 15. In total, Halter has raised $649,263. Less than $30,000 is from Arkansans. Beebe has raised $1.77 million and Hutchinson $632,449 through September. About 11 percent of Beebe’s contributions for the third quarter were from out of state. Hutchinson’s percentage of out-of-state donations was about 12 percent. Halter also pondered a run for governor in 2002 but did not make the attempt. That year, he formed no campaign committee. Halter spokesman Bud Jackson on Tuesday wouldn’t say whether Halter might change his mind and run for something else. Jackson said Wednesday that Halter declined to address that question. Jackson wore a sticker on his jacket that said “Halter for Arkansas: The Right Choice for Constable.” He said it was his way of showing that the Halter committee has a sense of humor. Halter’s exploratory committee is called “Halter for Arkansas.” His initial filing setting up the exploratory committee lists governor as the office he is thinking about seeking. But his finance reports make no mention of what office the exploratory committee is for. His campaign literature also uses the generic “Halter for Arkansas” label.
Graham Sloan, executive director of the Arkansas Ethics Commission, said candidates with exploratory committees can only use the money to run for the office for which the committee was set up. If such a candidate chooses to run for another state office, the money in the exploratory committee must be given to either the state treasury, a state political party, a nonprofit organization, or refunded. Federal Election Commission spokesman Ian Stirton said candidates can’t transfer any money from a state account for use in a federal race. Halter has obtained numerous contributions from California, the home of Stanford University, where he received his bachelor’s degree and for which he was a trustee. His largest Arkansas contributors in October were R.L. Qualls of Little Rock, a retired president of Balder Electric Co., and Nancy Ann Qualls, a retiree from Little Rock. Each gave $2,000. Halter, 44, recently bought a $350,000 house at 2912 Timber Creek Court, 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. He plans to marry Shanti Patching of Elk Grove, Calif., on Jan. 28.

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