Is a candidate already throwing his hat into the ring for the Arkansas Governor’s race?
On Thursday, August 1, radio host Bobby Bones said that he was looking into the possibility of running for the governor’s office in Arkansas. This isn’t the first time Bones has discussed the possibility of going into politics, but he says that the move could “happen at any time” when he decides to run.
“Amy [Brown, his co-host] and I had a talk a month ago. I was, like, it could happen at any time. Like off air, where I was like, ‘Hey you should get ready because before we know it it’s going to be the Amy Show and I’m going to be out,” Bones said.
In early 2019, Bones said that he wasn’t planning to leave radio unless he entered politics. “I love this job. I don’t plan to leave unless I decide to go in/win in politics. That would be the only reason I get out.”
However, he told a listener in May that he will “probably” leave radio behind and enter the political arena once his contract is over. According to a blog post on Bones’ iHeart Media site, his contract is 5 years. In July 2018, Bones signed a contract with iHeartMedia to continue his radio shows, and he was promoted to VP and creative director of iHeartCountry.
“I don’t see myself leaving within this next contract,” he says. “But then it’s probably over for me.”
Bones likely will not be able to run in the 2022 race. Assuming his contract runs five years, he will be under contract through 2023. The next governor’s race would be in 2026.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who was reelected in November 2018, will serve through 2022. He will be term-limited, which will open the field for new challengers.
Despite this, Bones says that he has been exploring his options for running.
“I had some attorneys go look and see what the language is in the Arkansas state constitution,” he says.
According to Article 6, Section 5 of the Arkansas State Constitution, the qualifications for the office of governor include being a United States citizen, being 30 years of age or older and the candidate “shall have been seven years a resident of this state.”
Bones says that he has been told that his Arkansas residence requirement has already been satisfied. “You have to live there seven years in a row, but not right now. I’ve already been there. I’ve spent the whole first part of my life there,” Bones says.
Born Bobby Estell, Bones was born in Hot Springs and raised in Mountain Pine. During college, Bones began working at the Henderson State University radio station and KLAZ 105.9 in Hot Springs, and later moved to KQAR and ALICE 107.7 in Little Rock. When he was roughly 22, he moved to Austin, Texas to join 96.7 KISS FM, according to All Music.
As the host of two popular radio shows, Bones has a powerful pulpit. Whether that will translate to political success in Arkansas will be determined later.
But Bones insists that “after this contract, “I’m done.” When one listener told him she was ready for him to run for governor, Bones said, “I’m ready for me, too.”
Image courtesy of Bobby Bones | IG: mrbobbybones