Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson officially filed paperwork to run for U.S. President in his home state Friday (Nov. 10).
He shared his thoughts on his long shot candidacy, GOP frontrunner former President Donald Trump, and the issue of abortion, which played out in several state elections on Tuesday on this week’s edition of Capitol View and Talk Business & Politics.
Hutchinson said he’s asked regularly why he remains in the race for the Republican nomination for President despite his low polling numbers and inability to qualify for some debates.
“I tell folks that we evaluate every day as to the strength of the campaign, whether we have the support that’s needed, and I get encouragement every day. But whenever you look at the polling numbers – I visited with Governor John Sununu, former governor of New Hampshire – and I asked for his political wisdom, and he said, ‘New Hampshire folks do not even decide, begin deciding until after Thanksgiving.’ So you’ve got to put it in perspective. These early states, they’re late deciders, and so you might be in point A in the polls now, but it’s going to shift, it’s going to move, and that’s been the history of these early races,” he said.
“Secondly, you’ve got to look at the instability of the race this year, the fact that next year is totally unpredictable. So you’ve got to file, you’ve got to be on the ballot if you’re going to have the opportunity to win,” Hutchinson added.
GOP frontrunner former President Donald Trump is facing nearly 100 indictments on legal charges ranging from business fraud to election interference. Hutchinson, a critic of Trump, has called on him to exit the race and predicts the legal outcomes will shake up the nomination process in 2024.
“Whenever you’re looking at next year in March, whenever voters in Arkansas will cast their ballots for president, that’s also the beginning of multiple trials and the beginning of more facts coming out,” he said. “It’s a sad time for America when we have to go through this, but it puts the Republican voters in a very big bind because they don’t know what’s going to transpire after they vote that’s going to shake up the race again.”
“One school of thought is you’ve got to make sure that you’re nice as can be so that if Trump falters, you’re going to be the beneficiary of those Trump votes. I believe that you’ve got to actually be clear as to the risks that we have with his candidacy, and that gets me in a little bit of trouble, but somebody’s got to say it,” Hutchinson said. “I have said that he ought to step aside, not because there’s not a presumption of innocence, just because let’s put the common good above your personal candidacy.”
Hutchinson said Tuesday night’s election results in key states across the country were a wake up call for Republicans. Despite some pundits claiming a hard-line anti-abortion stance drove voters to Democratic candidates and causes, Hutchinson said it is deeper than that. He advocates for stronger leadership in the GOP and stands by the U.S. Supreme Court decision that returned the issue of abortion to the states.
“When I talk to people, they’re frustrated with the leadership of the Republican Party and the direction of it, and they’ve been lifelong Republicans, but they are just frustrated,” he said. “We’ve got to straighten up our own act, we’ve got to get our party together so we can prove that we can govern, and that we can lead effectively, and it starts with the presidency of the United States.”
“[The issue of abortion] needs to be communicated in terms of compassion and understanding of difficult pregnancies or problem pregnancies, and so that’s how we need to work on the language better. Secondly, it’s about pro-life solutions after the child is born, and making sure that we have proper investment in maternal healthcare and prenatal care, so those are things that we ought to be talking about more,” Hutchinson said. “When it comes to the question itself, most importantly, be authentic. Everyone knows my conviction, I’m pro-life. I believe that life is in the womb. You ought to have reasonable protections there, as well as reasonable restrictions. And so when you express it that way, I think that you can move on.”
“The answer to your question is that it will be left with the states. As a practical matter, it will stay in the states, because you’re not going to be able to build a consensus in Congress,” he said.
Watch Hutchinson’s full interview in the video below.