Doc Washburn, a radio personality who until last year hosted a radio show on KARN 102.9, is floating his name as a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor.
On his podcast Feb. 9, Washburn said he would run for governor if he could raise the $15,000 required for the Republican Party’s filing fee by the filing deadline at noon March 1. He said he was a third of the way there after only a few days.
He said he had discussed his potential run with the Saline County Republican Women’s Club the night before and gotten a round of applause.
Washburn said, “By all accounts, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is going to be our next governor.”
At the moment, Sanders is the only Republican candidate for governor, and she has been endorsed by virtually every Arkansas Republican elected official at the state and national level. Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, R-Ark., were previously in the race for governor, but both dropped out and are seeking other offices. There are five Democrats seeking the party’s nomination and one Libertarian candidate.
Washburn added, “I think we’re all proud of the job that Sarah did trying to defend President Trump as White House press secretary,” and noted that Trump likes her and encouraged her to run.
But he criticized Sanders for endorsing Republican officeholders Sen. John Boozman and Rep. French Hill instead of their challengers. He called Boozman and Hill “RINOs,” a pejorative acronym for “Republicans In Name Only.”
He also criticized Sanders for accepting Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s endorsement and saying he had done a great job.
“I don’t think you can be in touch with this state and believe that Asa Hutchinson has done a good job as governor,” Washburn said.
Washburn said Hutchinson had vetoed a bill that denied transgender procedures for minors, which was overridden by the Legislature, and said taxes are too high and the state’s foster care system has too much abuse.
He asked if Sanders agrees with Hill “that the election wasn’t stolen from Donald Trump” and asked about her views on critical race theory, vaccine mandates and mask mandates. He said she doesn’t talk about those issues.
Instead, Washburn said she listens to RINOs: Hill; Boozman; “the horrible Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson, who should not be allowed to continue as a Republican”; and her father, former Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Washburn hosted a daily news talk show on KARN 102.9 until Oct. 8. According to Inside Radio, he told radio host Dan Bongino Nov. 5 that he was terminated by that station for refusing to comply with Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner’s requirement that employees be vaccinated.
He has since been hosting a podcast, “The Doc Washburn Show.”