'The Evangelical Vote Is Very Important to Us': Asa Hutchinson Makes His Presidential Pitch
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The field of aspiring GOP presidential candidates is growing by the day. Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced his candidacy last week and he certainly has the resume: a former governor, U.S. Congressman, and top posts in border security and drug enforcement in the George W. Bush administration. But his goal of restoring civility to an angry national discourse will be a linchpin. "I think we need more grace, we need more compassion," Hutchinson tells CBN News. "I think we need to listen more and we need leaders to set the right example."
Clearly, Hutchinson is referring to the GOP's clear presidential frontrunner, Donald J. Trump. When asked if stopping Trump from getting the Republican nomination is part of the reason he's running, Hutchinson didn't hesitate. "Sure, there's a factor there," he says. "But let me explain. First of all, the biggest motivation is that the Biden policies are taking us in the wrong direction but also our party, the GOP, needs a course correction, and that the GOP, I don't believe, can win in a November election with Donald Trump leading the pack."
The challenge for Asa Hutchinson is that this is not simply the grand old Republican Party. Trump changed it. Rather than "protector of the world," there's more of an "America First" attitude. For example, the populist arm of the party doesn't believe in spending money overseas for say, the war in Ukraine if it means less spent at home. "Well, we can do both," Hutchinson tells CBN News. "You've got to put it in perspective. The Biden administration spent over $1 trillion in a stimulus package. In terms of what we're spending in Ukraine, it's less than 200 billion and we're talking about world peace issues. So that's not unusual. I think it's a false argument that's being presented."
Hutchinson has his work cut out for him in order to get noticed and gain momentum. He checks the box as a strong conservative on social issues, especially abortion, so that will help. And he believes the evangelical vote is make or break for him. "I like the Iowa dynamic and being able to campaign there," he says. "The evangelical vote is very important to us. The evangelical vote is going to determine who's going to be the next Republican nominee to a certain extent. They're going to influence that."
For Hutchinson, he plans to pave the campaign trail with elements of his faith journey. "I've memorized the Romans road to salvation. and I trusted the Lord as my Savior," Hutchinson tells CBN News. "That faith journey has been important in my personal life, my family life but it also has guided my public service."
It will be an uphill battle for sure because Hutchison will have to navigate a changing party plus withstand a likely Trump barrage. In the meantime, he's praying. "I always ask for prayer for wisdom," Hutchinson says. "James talks about wisdom, that there's an earthly wisdom in which we know how to deal in the affairs of man. Daniel reflected that, and Joseph reflected that, but there's also the eternal wisdom in which we can see over the horizon to eternity, and worry about not just the judgment of history on our decisions, but the judgment of eternity."
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