LITTLE ROCK Democratic gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Dustin McDaniel spoke for the first time Tuesday about an extramarital relationship with a Hot Springs attorney that came to light last month.
McDaniel addressed members of media at an 11 a.m. news conference at the Wyndham hotel in North Little Rock. [CLICK TO WATCH VIDEO] He spoke alone, noting "This situation is entirely my fault."
In a statement issued Dec. 18, McDaniel admitted an "inappropriate" relationship with Hot Springs attorney Andi Davis. It was later revealed that Davis was the opposing counsel in five cases that were handled by the attorney general’s office under McDaniel.
McDaniel said he wanted to talk publicly to "take responsibility" and to address rumors about the situation. "There are no other shoes to fall," he said. "I love my wife very much."
McDaniel said he has met Davis less than half a dozen times. And he said those interactions that were inappropriate were a mistake that "had no impact on my job or the work done by the very competent and capable staff of the attorney general's office."
McDaniel also assured that his staff "had no knowledge of my personal interaction with [Davis]."
He said he also has no knowledge of the ongoing investigation into the death of Hot Springs resident Maxwell Anderson. Anderson's body was found outside Davis' home and she was escorted from the home in handcuffs when deputies responded Feb. 29.
McDaniel said he has no knowledge of the case or jurisdiction over it.
"In short, I know nothing about it," he said.
McDaniel said he remains committed to running for governor despite the controversy. "I do so humbly, recognizing I need to earn the second chance I am asking for," he said.
"I have prayed and continued to pray for God's forgiveness and grace. I also renew today my apology to the people of Arkansas who have important issues that demand attention rather than distractions of my creation."
The affair was first alleged in court filings in a custody dispute between Davis and her ex-husband. In the statement, McDaniel apologized but offered few details, noting he and his wife have "moved on with our life together."
McDaniel on Tuesday again didn't go into specifics about the affair itself, characterizing it only as an inappropriate relationship that occurred only in 2011 on a limited basis.
He said he would never engage in such behavior again, regardless of where his political career takes him.
"I'm far more concerned throughout the rest of my life with being her husband than I am with being governor," he said at one point during the half-hour news conference. "Although I'd like to do both. But whether I'm governor or not, this will never be a concern in my life again."
McDaniel is the only Democratic candidate to announce he is running for governor in 2014. On the Republican side, former U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson has said he expects to run and Curtis Coleman has formed an exploratory committee to consider entering the race.
Read more on this story in tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.