TEXARKANA, Ark. — Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge told local Republicans on Tuesday that experience is the difference-maker in in her bid for the party's 2022 gubernatorial nomination.
Rutledge spoke at the monthly meeting of the Miller County Republican Committee. She and former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders have announced their candidacies for the nomination as Gov. Asa Hutchinson completes his final years in office because of term limits.
Calling the race an "intrafamily ordeal," Rutledge said there will be little difference between her and Sanders' platforms but "experience matters."
"I know that we're at a point now in Arkansas where so many of our elections are going to be decided in the May primary for Republicans. There's going to be very little daylight between myself and my friend Sarah in terms of our vision for the state of Arkansas, but there's a lot of daylight in our experiences. And while I would never want to have her job, answering questions on behalf of someone else and fighting the press, that's much different than my job making decisions," she said.
Rutledge took the opportunity to tout her Republican values, calling herself "a Christian, pro-life, gun-carrying, conservative mama."
She touched on a range of topics including choice in education, social media "cancel culture," suing President Joe Biden's administration of greenhouse gas restrictions, opposition to abortion, protection of Second Amendment rights and fighting Medicaid fraud.
Early polling cannot be counted upon in sizing up her chances to win the nomination, Rutledge said, recounting polls in the attorney general race she won that showed her in last place.
"Don't ever count me out," she said. "No one is ever going to outwork me."
Rutledge was first elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2018. A former prosecutor, she graduated from the University of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Rutledge is admitted to practice law in Arkansas, Washington, D.C., and before the U.S. Supreme Court.
"A seventh generation Arkansan, Rutledge grew up on a cattle farm and attended school at the Southside School District in Independence County. From her mother, an elementary school teacher, and her father, a lawyer and a judge, Rutledge learned the importance of hard work and service," her biography on the website for the Attorney General's Office states.