Outgoing Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson congratulated his successor Sarah Huckabee Sanders on her win and looked forward to his own political future, which may or may not include a run for the White House in 2024.
Hutchinson, a Republican who is leaving office at the end of the year because of term limits, didn't directly confirm a bid, but said Wednesday on Newsmax's "National Report" that he's "delighted to be part of that national conversation because I'm very concerned about the direction of our country."
"If you look at 2024, we've got to have a candidate that can win in the primary, that can win in November, that can bring people together and problem-solve," Hutchinson said. "[That] we've got a lot of great candidates is the good news. We've got to work through that."
It will be vital, he said, to have a better energy policy and be able to better promote the private sector, rather than "simply growing the government."
"That's a kind of conservatism that I think is important, and I'll be talking about that for sure in the coming months, whenever you look at experience, the border security and the fentanyl coming across, we've got to address that," Hutchinson said.
Meanwhile, Sanders, a Republican who had served as press secretary for former President Donald Trump, will become Arkansas' first female governor. Hutchinson said her win means the first time in the state's history that one GOP governor will follow another.
"It's exciting for me to see the voters respond to Republican leadership," he said. "Not only did we win this but we were red across the board."
Nationwide, GOP incumbent governors also held their seats, and Hutchinson said that's because "the public likes the record of more freedom," including from the pandemic.
"We lead in terms of whether it's border security, whether it's health care education," he said. "We're putting more money back in people's pockets to help them during these tough times."
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