BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson formally announced his run for president in 2024 on Wednesday.
During his speech, he highlighted his desire to address the southern border crisis, assist Ukraine against the Russian invasion, expand computer science knowledge in classrooms, get more people employed and fix the economy, to name a few key points.
He also wants to make sure social security benefits last well into the future. He wants to develop a committee to address the task.
Hutchinson said he feels set apart from the rest with his experience.
“In this campaign for president, I stand alone in my experience, my record and my leadership,” Hutchinson said.
Karen Sebold, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Arkansas, said she thinks he does have a full resume.
“First off, he was a governor, and in the past, we used to mostly elect governors to be president. He’s also got this federal experience of working in the DEA, Homeland Security. He’s been a local prosecutor, then a federal prosecutor,” Sebold said.
One of the topics that stuck out to Sebold in Hutchinson’s speech is his support for Ukraine.
“In National Congress, we see different candidates or politicians coming out against the Republican Party supporting Ukraine and their war with Russia,” Sebold said.
One of the setbacks she thinks Hutchinson will face in his campaign is his lack of recognition on the national scale compared to others like former president Donald Trump and Ron Desantis.
She thinks it could also be a hard task getting some voters to embrace his political ideology.
“Negative partisanship is higher than ever, which means that we tend to vote against someone versus voting for someone. Asa is really trying to get away from negative partisanship and build it back toward more a solid base of support,” Sebold said.
She thinks Hutchinson will appeal to more moderate conservative voters, possibly independent voters, and maybe even some democratic voters who have grown tired of the Biden administration.
While Hutchinson is a dark horse candidate, Sebold said it’s not impossible for him to win. She used Ronald Reagan as an example.
“In 1976, a very kind of unknown candidate was able to kind of build on that momentum in the 1976 primary and go on in 1982, win the primary and become president. Asa will mention Ronald Reagan many times throughout his candidacy, that’s one of his political idols,” Sebold said.
As for how far Hutchinson will get in his campaign, Sebold said it could be that he gets to the top five, but only time will tell. More people can still enter the race and change the political environment.