Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson has made it official: He will seek the “Republican” nomination for the presidency of the United States in 2024.
“After many conversations with Americans across this great country, I have decided to seek the Presidency of the United States of America,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “As I have traveled the country for the last six months, I have heard the concern from so many people about the leadership of our country. I am convinced that the American people want leaders that appeal to the best of America and who do not simply appeal to our worst instincts and that inspires me.”
Hutchinson becomes the fourth announced GOP candidate for president – joining former U.S. president Donald Trump, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley and Ohio businessman Vivek Ramaswamy. He will make his announcement official(er?) on April 26, 2023 at a rally in his hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas.
“The American people deserve good leadership rooted in common sense and consistent conservatism that is optimistic about our great country,” he said. “I know I can bring that leadership and I look forward to sharing my message with the rest of the country.”
Hutchinson, 72, served two terms as governor of his state from 2015-2023. During that time, he spent one year as chairman of the National Governors Association (NGA). A three-term congressman from Arkansas’ third district from 1997-2001, Hutchinson gained fame (infamy?) as one of the thirteen U.S. House managers during the impeachment trial of former U.S. president Bill Clinton.
Under former U.S. president George W. Bush, Hutchinson served as the eighth administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and as the nation’s first undersecretary for border and transportation security in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
An attorney, Hutchinson began his public career in 1982 as a U.S. attorney for the western district of Arkansas. He was appointed to that post by then-U.S. president Ronald Reagan.
Hutchinson has already been making appearances in early-voting states – including South Carolina, home of the quadrennial “First in the South” Republican presidential primary. Last month, he attended the Vision ’24 conference – a gathering sponsored by South Carolina’s leading social conservative group, Palmetto Family.
Hutchinson enters the race as a staunch opponent of Trump, and on Sunday he reiterated his calls for the former president to drop out of the race following his indictment on charges related to a 2016 hush money payment made to adult entertainer Stormy Daniels.
“The office is more important than any individual person,” Hutchinson told ABC News’ Jon Karl. “And so for the sake of the office of the presidency, I do think that’s too much of a sideshow and distraction.”
Hutchinson also reiterated his pitch to evangelical voters in his interview with Karl.
“I believe that the evangelical community understands that we need to have a leader that can distance themselves from some of the bad instincts that drive Mr. Trump,” he said.
That tracks with previous comments Hutchinson has made about evangelical voters craving a “different type of leadership in the future.”
Hutchinson is not expected to impact the GOP nominating fight in any significant way, but we will certainly keep an eye on his South Carolina schedule … especially as it relates to his work with Palmetto State social conservative organizations.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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