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Coleman mulling 2014 bid for Ark. governor

Andrew Demillo

Curtis Coleman, the founder of a food safety company and an unsuccessful candidate for the United States Senate last year, said Monday that he's considering a run for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2014.

Coleman said he planned to meet Monday with supporters in Jonesboro about a potential run for governor. Coleman said he probably won't make a final decision until the middle of 2013.

"It's three years away. I'm a long way from being able to make any kind of announcement," Coleman told The Associated Press Monday morning. "What we're doing is unofficial and very early stage and pre-decision."

The 63-year-old Coleman is the founder of Safe Foods and ran for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate last year. John Boozman won the nomination in the primary and beat Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln.

Conservative blogger Jason Tolbert first reported on Coleman's planned meeting with supporters Monday morning.

Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe is serving his second term and is barred by term limits from running again. Coleman is one of several potential candidates eyeing the open seat.

Democratic Congressman Mike Ross announced in July that he would not seek re-election next year as he prepares for a potential gubernatorial run, and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is widely considered a potential Democratic candidate for the seat.

Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Darr said in June that he was "moving towards" a run for governor in 2014 rather than re-election.

Secretary of State Mark Martin, a Republican, in August asked Coleman to chair an advisory committee Martin had formed for his office. Coleman said the group would make its recommendations early next year.

Coleman said he planned to continue chairing the group as he considers a gubernatorial bid. Martin promised during his 2010 campaign to bar employees from publicly endorsing or opposing candidates, but Coleman has noted he is not a paid employee of the office.

The Associated Press