Analysis: McDaniel, Halter Campaign Like it's 2014

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is talking up ethics reform and targeting "Hannah Montana" ticket scalpers.  Lt. Governor Bill Halter is busy touting college scholarships and the lottery proposal he says will fund them.

Don't tell either one, he is campaigning for governor perhaps seven years too soon.

Both viewed as eventual Democratic candidates for the state's highest office, McDaniel and Halter already seem to be in campaign mode, earning Brownie points with the party faithful and keeping their names in the headlines.  Assuming that Democratic Governor Mike Beebe seeks re-election in 2010, both have time to build up their support for 2014 race.

A McDaniel-Halter race isn't that far-fetched of a notion.  Last year, Halter briefly ran against Beebe for the gubernatorial nomination before dropping out to run for the state's #2 spot.  As Attorney General, Jonesboro native McDaniel sits in a high-profile office that's been a popular stepping stone to the governor's office, as proven by Beebe and Bill Clinton.

Both say their recent efforts have nothing to do with personal political ambitions, but are part of their jobs as state constitutional officers.  But both are also clearly laying the groundwork for something further.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)