Rogers attorney and former Republican Congressman Asa Hutchinson says he expects to run for governor in 2014.
In an episode of “5NEWS Weekend” to air Saturday (Jan. 5) and Sunday (Jan. 6), 5NEWS anchor Daren Bobb asked Hutchinson how the title "Governor Asa Hutchinson" sounded.
“I expect that’s going to be in my future, in terms of being a candidate," Hutchinson said during taping early Friday (Jan. 3) in the Fayetteville newsroom. "This is a wonderful opportunity to impact Arkansas, so I hope to do that."
That statement to 5NEWS is the first time Hutchinson has said publicly that he expects to run for governor.
Asked about a timetable, Hutchinson said he wants to focus on his work with the National Rifle Association school safety program before making an announcement. However, he went on to say, “I’ll be engaged in that down the road, quicker than most people would want the campaign to come along."
Bobb then asked Hutchinson whether Arkansans could expect to hear an official announcement within the next three to four months.
"Absolutely, I hope that's in my future," Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson was recently named the new director of the NRA’s School Shield Program.
The program calls for an armed guard to be placed in every school nationally. The former congressman has been working to assemble experts on school safety and firearms training in order to better prepare for the program. Hutchinson said he hopes to have a plan in place for the school safety initiative in the next four months.
Apart from Hutchinson, only two other candidates have taken official steps to run in 2014. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced in June 2012 he would seek the Democratic nomination in the 2014 race. North Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman, a Republican, filed papers this week to form an exploratory committee in his bid for the governor's seat. Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe is term-limited and prohibited from running again.
Crawford County Democratic Committee chairman Bill Taylor said he supports McDaniel and believes he will do a great job as governor.
Rex Terry, chairman of the Sebastian County Republican Committee, believes Hutchinson is the "prohibitive favorite."
“I really think he’s got a common touch with people that they like," Terry said. "He’s done a lot of things, not only in Republican politics, but in government in general. He’s been in public service a long time, and I think Asa’s time has come.”
Hutchinson's full interview with Daren Bobb will air from 7-9 a.m. on Saturday on KXNW-34 and on Sunday from 6-8 a.m. on KFSM-5.