Arkansas Republicans will have a voice, at least two of them, at next week’s Republican National Convention. U.S. Senator Tom Cotton and Governor Asa Hutchinson revealed Wednesday they have been invited to speak in Cleveland, Ohio. The speakers list has not yet been released by convention staff or the campaign of the presumptive nominee Donald Trump.
Cotton, whose name had been bandied about as a potential vice presidential pick, confirmed he’ll address the convention on MSNBC’s Morning Joe television program. "I look forward to talking about our military and our veterans and what we need to do to serve them so they can serve us," he told host Joe Scarborough.
His office told the Associated Press he’ll speak on Monday, the first night of the convention.
Speaking to reporters via telephone on Wednesday, Governor Hutchinson said he expects to speak during prime time on Tuesday evening.
“I’ve been in discussion with the convention managers and the Donald Trump campaign,” Hutchinson said. “They’re still waiting to release a final list of the speakers and so we’re anxious for that to happen but I’ve been working it for some time. I think it’s appropriate for me to go ahead and confirm I will be speaking at the convention.”
At this juncture, the governor says he knows what he’ll say but until then he’ll be keeping his remarks under wraps.
“I’ll let the Trump… well, I do [know what I’m going to say] but I’m not going to talk about it now. I’ll put it that way,” Hutchinson said responding to a question from a reporter.
He did offer some broad outlines, saying “My goal as I have the opportunity to go to the convention is to help shape the debate, to help broadcast some of the successes in Arkansas, and obviously to make sure we have a convention that will lay a good foundation for Donald Trump to run on in the fall.”
Donald Trump won the plurality of votes in Arkansas's March 1 Republican presidential primary with 32.8 percent of the vote, garnering 16 delegates. Ted Cruz took 15 delegates with 30.5 percent. Gov. Hutchinson's preference (after former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee exited the race) Marco Rubio placed third with 24.9 percent of the vote and 9 delegates.
The Republican National Convention is being held July 18-21.