Ross wins Democratic nomination in governor's race

Posted: May 20, 2014 at 7:49 p.m.
Updated: May 20, 2014 at 9:55 p.m.

FILE - In this Aug. 16, 2013 file photo former Congressman and Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Mike Ross speaks at a meeting of the Political Animals Club in Little Rock, Ark. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, FILE)

Former U.S. Rep. Mike Ross has won the Democratic nomination for governor.

With 1,096 of 2,459 precincts reporting at 9:55 p.m., Ross led opponent Lynette Bryant 83,566 to 15,056, or 85 percent to 15 percent, according to unofficial results. The Associated Press called the race in Ross' favor at 7:43 p.m.

He faces Republican candidate Asa Hutchinson in the fall.

Ross was considered the frontrunner in the race against Bryant, a substitute teacher who previously lost races for the Little Rock board of directors and the state Legislature.

Bryant, who had not received any donations to her campaign through March 31, criticized Ross for not seeking reelection to his seat representing Arkansas' 4th Congressional District, saying she would have supported his run for governor if not for that decision.

Ross in July 2011 said he would not seek reelection and in May 2012 announced he would shift away from politics and into a position with Southwest Power Pool.

But Ross soon resigned from that job and instead entered the gubernatorial race after early favorite Dustin McDaniel withdrew. McDaniel, Arkansas' attorney general, bowed out after admitting to an inappropriate relationship with a Hot Springs lawyer.

Ross, a Prescott native, was elected to the state Senate in 1990, becoming the youngest state senator at that time. He served 10 years in the state legislature before first winning election to the U.S. House in 2000.

He has proposed cutting the state's individual income taxes and the state's sales taxes on manufacturers as well as expanding the availability of the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more on this story.