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March 12, 2023: Donald Trump should quit the race for the Republican nomination in 2024 if he is indicted in New York over a hush money payment to a port star during his victorious run in 2016, a prospective rival said. (The Guardian)

“It doesn’t mean that he’s guilty of it or he should be charged,” said Asa Hutchinson, a former governor of Arkansas. “But it’s just such a distraction that would be unnecessary for somebody who’s seeking the highest office in the land.”

Hutchinson has not declared a run. Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor, remains Trump’s only declared opponent from the Republican mainstream. The governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, is Trump’s only serious challenger in polling…

April 4, 2023: Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) who announced that he’s running for president in 2024, said former President Trump should drop out of the race now that he’s been indicted on criminal charges. (The Hill)

“I mean, first of all, the office is more important than any individual person. And so for the sake of the office of the presidency, I do think that’s too much of a sideshow and distraction and he needs to be able to concentrate on his due process and there is a presumption of innocence,” Hutchinson said in an interview aired Sunday with ABC “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl.

Hutchinson had said earlier that Trump should drop out if he was indicted, and shared a statement after news of the indictment generated headlines saying Trump should not become president again. Asked by Karl in the new interview whether he thinks Trump should now step away, Hutchinson says “I do.”…

…Hutchinson announced during the interview that he’ll seek the Republican nomination for president in 2024. Trump announced just after the November midterms and is now the first sitting or former U.S. president to face criminal charges…

April 26, 2023: Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson officially launched his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination on Wednesday. (NBC News)

Here’s where he stands on some top issues:

Abortion

Hutchinson signed a near-total abortion ban into law in 2021, which included an exception for the life of the mother. Hutchinson said at the time that he would have preferred the ban also include exceptions for rape and incest.

After the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision last year, ending the federal right to an abortion, Hutchinson said the court’s decision “will save lives.”

But he does not support a federal ban on abortion, instead of arguing that policies dictating abortion access and restrictions should be decided at state level…

Entitlements

“We have got to protect Social Security and Medicare,” Hutchinson recently told PBS NewsHour. He added that he does not support raising the retirement age to address the looming shortfalls facing those entitlement programs.

As governor, Hutchinson also championed adding a work requirement for the state’s Medicaid expansion.

“We want them to have the health care coverage,” Hutchinson told NPR in 2019.

“But we also want to help them get to work and to show them where the path is so that they can have an income,” he later added…

Transgender issues

As governor, Hutchinson had a mixed record on transgender issues. He vetoed a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors, criticizing the measure as “vast government overreach.”…

…He also signed a measure barring transgender women and girls competing in school sports that aligned with their gender identity…

July 17, 2023: Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said in an interview on Monday that the reason he was jeered at a political event was due to the “stranglehold” former President Trump has on his party. (The Hill)

Hutchinson, who announced his candidacy in April, was greeted by boos and chants of “Trump” when he appeared on stage to speak at the Turning Point Action Conference in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Sunday.

“Well, its a different day in time, and that reflects Trump’s stranglehold a certain element of the party,” Hutchinson told host Leland Vittert on NewsNation’s “The Hill”. “But what you saw in that audience were thousands of young people who I was speaking to, and they were listening.”

He added that “It’s important for me to speak my message about where this country needs to go, and different policies for what President Biden is bringing, from energy to too much federal spending, so I gave that message, and that’s important for me to be there”…

August 1, 2023: GOP presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday he believes he will be able to qualify for the next Republican primary debate, despite doubters. (The Hill)

“You know that many people didn’t think I was gonna make the last debate stage, and I heard your prognosticators already say you don’t think we’re gonna make the next one at the Reagan Library,” he told NBC “Meet the Press” anchor Chuck Todd on Friday. “So I intend to prove it all wrong. I expect to be there.”

The next Republican debate will take place on Sept. 27, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Southern California.

In August, the Republican National Committee (RNC) released the criteria the GOP hopefuls must meet in order to qualify for the second debate – slightly more stringent than the first debate.

Candidates will need to have a minimum of 50,000 unique donors, including 200 donors in 20 states or more each, according to the RNC. They will also need to poll at a minimum of 3 percent in two national surveys or poll at 3 percent in one national poll and two polls conducted in two early states – including Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

Hutchinson currently sits at an average of 0.7 percent in national polls among the Republican candidates, according to FiveThirtyEight. That average is a far cry from the leader of the Republican pack, former President Trump, who has a polling average of 50.3 percent…

October 28, 2023: Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is taking over some of his own presidential campaign’s staffing duties after agreeing to part ways with his campaign manager, Rob Burgess. (NBC News)

Hutchinson said he plans to handle all media inquiries directly until he either hires a replacement for Burgess, who is leaving after Oct. 31, or designates an existing member of his staff to handle those responsibilities.

“I thought we were all together on it [the campaign].” Hutchinson said. “So that’s really, there’s nothing more to be said there other than it was by mutual agreement. And clearly, I’m continuing with the campaign, excited about it, and we go from here.”

…He added that he and Burgess mutually agreed on the campaign manager’s departure. The shakeup comes after Hutchinson failed to qualify for the second Republican presidential primary debate in September, and with the deadline bearing down to meet the requirements for the third debate on Nov. 8, in Miami…

November 1, 2023: Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has brought on a new presidential campaign manager, one day after parting ways with his previous top staffer. (NBC News)

Williams served as Hutichson’s chief of staff from 2016 to 2023 while he was governor.

“She’s been with me from the U.S. Congress, which was 20 years ago, to DEA, Homeland Security and then as governor, of course, in my key role as my chief of staff, and so she’s a trusted ally,” Hutchinson said of Williams. “She knows how I like things to operate, and I’m just delighted that she’s on board. And she’s going to bring our fighting team together for the sprint ahead.”

The staffing change comes as Hutchinson decided not to file for the primary ballot in South Carolina, citing the tough competition there between former President Donald Trump, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.

“As a practical matter, there’s minimal chance that I would have to win the entire state of South Carolina. And so, if you, if you can’t win it, then let’s maximize the opportunity for non-Trump delegates,” Hutchison told NBC News…

…Hutchinson says he hopes his decision will maximize the opportunity to spread out delegates addled to a more competitive Super Tuesday…

…However, Hutchinson said he still plans to file for the ballot in Florida despite two more home-state favorites, Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis, going up against each other there.

November 11, 2023: Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) pushed back against the suggestion that he might end his 2024 GOP presidential bid after failing to qualify for the third GOP primary debate. (The Hill)

Hutchinson was asked by CNN’s Jim Acosta about arguments made that the GOP needs to coalesce around an “anti-Trump or non-Trump candidate” and asked if it was “time” for Hutchinson to drop out of the race to “make that possible.” The former Arkansas governor responded that he doesn’t believe that to be the case.

“I think most people that make the case, ‘We need to narrow the field,’ they’re talking about … after the first four states, that’s the case that Mitt Romney made,” Hutchinson said.

“And there’ll be a time down the road that consolidation will happen, but the voters… have an opportunity to express themselves, and you’re gonna see a lot of changes,” he continued.

Hutchinson, along with Doug Burgum, failed to meet the Republican National Committee’s debate qualifications, which included fundraising and polling requirements…

…Hutchinson was recently booed at the Florida Republican Party’s annual Freedom Summit last week…

Posted in 2024 Presidential Campaign