Creating a media frenzy across the political spectrum in Arkansas on Tuesday, it became official today that former Congressman Mike Ross has resigned his position with the Southwest Power Pool in Little Rock scarcely three months after starting in the high profile job.
While there has been no confirmed statement by Ross regarding his resignation or his intentions to possibly seek election as governor, media outlets around Arkansas have been tantalized by the prospect. Ross was not available for comment at press time Wednesday.
The only statement made by the SPP came Tuesday afternoon from spokesman Pete Hoelscher in an e-mail to the Hope Star.
“Mike has resigned from SPP effective tomorrow,” Hoelscher said. “We do not have a statement or news release. We do wish him well.”
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that a spokesman for SPP had confirmed Ross' resignation, effective today, and that the resignation was “to pursue another opportunity in public service.”
That language was widely quoted after it was first used in a story by the Talk Business website to quote what was purportedly an e-mail which Ross had sent to SPP co-workers on Tuesday.
“I wanted you to know that after much thought I have resigned as an officer and senior vice president at Southwest Power Pool to pursue another opportunity in public service,” the Talk Business quote states.
Ross told the Hope Star in May, 2012, that he had quit politics because it was becoming too brutish.
“As a result, instead of campaigning and raising money, I have been able to spend more time, including weekends, with my family for the past year,” he said at the time. “We have enjoyed getting back to a more normal way of life after 22 continuous years of elective service. This led me to the realization that there is life after politics.”
Ross said at the time that he had considered running for governor in 2014, but had ruled out any such run. He said at the time that his decision was a family decision, and that an anticipated primary election campaign with likely candidate Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel would be costly.
McDaniel's campaign has since imploded with allegations regarding an extra-marital relationship with a Hot Springs attorney, and Ross has been encouraged since to reconsider his decision. Former Lt. Governor Bill Halter, a Democrat, has announced intentions to run for the office. On the Republican side, businessman Curtis Coleman, who has a run for U.S. Senate under his belt, has said he will run for governor, and current Lt. Governor Mark Darr is expected to run.