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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 porn 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:


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…


“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…

January 16, 2024: Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is ending his 2024 race for president after a dismal sixth-place showing in the Iowa caucuses underscored how little he had been embraced by Republican voters. (ABC News)

With 99% of the expected results in, Hutchinson secured just 191 votes in the Iowa caucuses and zero pledged delegates as of Tuesday morning, appearing to underperform his .07% polling average in the Hawkeye State and trailing little-known pastor Ryan Binkley, who has no national profile to speak of.

“My message of being a principled Republican with experience and telling the truth about the current front runner did not sell in Iowa,” Hutchinson said in a statement, referring to Donald Trump. “I stand by the campaign I ran. I answered every question, sounded the warning to the GOP about the risks in 2024 and presented hope for our country’s future.”

Hutchinson said he had congratulated Trump on the latter’s victor in Iowa and added “[My wife] Susan and I are blessed beyond measure, and we are grateful for the opportunity to have fought in the political arena for America.”

Heading into Iowa’s contest, Hutchison had wanted to make it into the top four and beat businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, who has since dropped out.

Since launching his campaign in April 2023, Hutchinson never managed to build significant momentum in the polls with donors and he failed to meet the requirements for each of the Republican primary debates following the first stage last August.

He initially vowed to stay in the race through Thanksgiving, testing to see whether he would break 4% in an early voting state, a goal he did not meet.

But he kept his bid going well beyond that self-imposed deadline — holding dozens of Iowa meet-and-greets in what he called a “Return to Normal” tour during what would be his campaigns final weeks…

…Hutchinson was the first GOP candidate to call for former President Trump to step aside, arguing Trump’s campaign and his many legal issues distract from the issues facing Americans. (Trump denies all wrongdoing.) Hutchinson ultimately outlasted former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who had a similar message to conservative voters and similarly failed to persuade any of them…

… Hutchinson was hoping to outlast Trump — whom he supported while governor of Arkansas but broke from after Jan. 6, 2021 — betting that, between multiple criminal indictments and other baggage, the former president would be toppled by external forces or sour with voters.

But with Trump winning the Iowa caucuses and Hutchinson failing to receive any delegates, he finally called it quits…

February 25, 2024: Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said Sunday that he thinks former President Trump wants to wrap up the nominating process quickly because he sees certain warning signs looming that could threaten his path to the candidacy. (The Hill)

In an interview with MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart, Hutchison mentioned as potential threats the multiple court cases against Trump, the financial fines and fees he must pay, and the nearly 40 percent of South Carolina GOP voters who voted for Haley.

“I think what Donald Trump is trying to do is to wrap this nomination up very quickly, because he knows the storm clouds are gathering over him,” Hutchinson said.

Asked whether he would support Trump if Haley dropped out of the race, Hutichson said, “Well, I’m not going to support a convicted felon.”

“And of course, that remains to be seen. So let’s see who comes out of the Republican convention. It’s not done until it’s done,” Hutchinson responded, adding later, “Let’s wait and see who comes out of the convention. I’m not going to support a convicted felon.”

Hutchinson did not say whether he would support Trump as the ultimate nominee if the former president is not ultimately convicted in any of his four criminal indictments that he faces — two on the federal level and two on the state level.

Hutchinson said the decision is difficult, as a longtime Republican who still believes in the party.

“I’ve always supported the Republican nominee. It’s sort of a big deal to move a different direction. And I have still hope for the Republican Party,” Hutchinson said. “It’s challenged, because I see the direction and the challenge that Nikki Haley has in front of her, but we’re going to work hard to see if we can change them between now and the convention.”

In response to Hutchison’s comments, a Trump spokesperson wrote in a statement to The Hill: “Nobody cares what Ada Hutchinson has to say. He can go crawl back under whatever rock he slithered out from.”

Posted in 2024 Presidential Campaign