FEBRUARY 24, 2005 - Posted at 1:52 p.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Lieutenant Governor Winthrop Paul Rockefeller has informed state Republican officials that he will definitely run for governor in 2006.
Rockefeller stated his intentions in a letter dated Monday to members of the state Republican Party, state committee and executive committee.
He told the GOP members that he looks forward to working with them in the months ahead to "bring about a new era of excellence for Arkansas."
Rockefeller said he would formally announce his candidacy after the Legislature adjourns.
The billionaire son of former Governor Winthrop Rockefeller has made no secret of his desire to follow in his father's footsteps. His announcement would appear to set up a high-profile Republican primary next year pitting Rockefeller against former Congressman Asa Hutchinson.
Hutchinson resigned as undersecretary of the federal Homeland Security Department this year after being passed over by President Bush to head the agency. Hutchinson has not yet said what his political plans are.
In his letter, Rockefeller said "overwhelming numbers" of Arkansas Republicans had encouraged him to run for governor. He said he had discussed the demands of a gubernatorial campaign with his wife and family and they had expressed enthusiastic support for him to run.