LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Just two days ahead of former Gov. Asa Hutchinson formally announcing his presidential bid, he sat down with KARK to talk about his decision to run.
The list of Republicans on the GOP nominee ballot is already daunting for Hutchinson, with former president Donald Trump already leading the polls.
Hutchinson said while it is a lot to take on, this is nothing he cannot handle.
“I believe we need a course correction in terms of the dialogue we have with the American public, trying to bring people together, and I do not believe Trump can do that,” Hutchinson said. “He is divisive.”
Hutchinson also noted he feels he has a better shot to win the general election.
“Quite frankly I do not believe he can win in a November election,” Hutchinson said, referring to Trump. When asked if he feels he has a better chance beating Biden, if he is the Democratic nominee, Hutchinson responded, “Oh, I do.”
Hutchinson said he feels he has the experience a president should have because of his work at the state and federal level.
He has served as a federal prosecutor, in the U.S. House of Representatives, George W. Bush Administration as Head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and he has worked with the European Commission and European Nations. Most recently, he served as Governor of Arkansas for eight years.
“You look at the challenges America faces, it deals with the experiences that I have had,” Hutchinson said. “I think it is important, and America looks for a governor’s leadership…somebody who has been in executive authority and had to make tough decisions.”
Hutchinson said the hurdle right now is name recognition. He has traveled out of state several times already, especially across Iowa ahead of the caucus.
He said he is encouraged to look back on some candidates from Arkansas who have also run for president and their success as a candidate, whether they won or not.
“Geography just does not matter in today’s world,” he said.
Hutchinson said instead, what matters is someone’s vision for America, as well as their character.
In the most recent poll by NBC, Hutchinson is tied with Nikki Haley and Senator Tim Scott at 3%. He said the main hurdle right now is name recognition. He has traveled to Iowa several times already, with plans to re-visit South Carolina soon and New Hampshire.
Trump leads that poll at 46%, followed by Ron DeSantis who has not actually announced a presidential bid yet. Still, he is at 31%. Former Vice-President Mike Pence, who also has not formally announced his candidacy yet, is next in line at 6%.
The Republican National Committee Chairwoman also announced this month that anyone wanting to participate in 2024 GOP debates will need to sign a pledge to support whoever gets the nomination -whether that is Trump or any other candidate.
Hutchinson- outspoken on his opposition to Trump- said Monday that he is not in favor of taking party loyalty oaths, but and needs to look at that pledge. He did say for certain that he be on the debate stage.