Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced a 2024 presidential bid, becoming the fourth major Republican candidate to make such an announcement.
“I’m convinced that people want leaders that appeal to the best of America, and not simply appeal to our worst instincts,” Hutchinson told ABC News on Sunday. “I am going to be running. And the reason, as I’ve traveled the country for six months, I hear people talk about the leadership of our country. … I believe I can be that kind of leader for the people of America,” he added.
Hutchinson, a former federal prosecutor, again said that Trump should withdraw from the 2024 race. “Well he should,” Hutchinson said when asked about if the former president should pull out of the race. “But at the same time, we know he’s not [going to]. And there’s not any constitutional requirement.”
Other than Hutchinson, the other major GOP candidates include former President Donald Trump, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy. There is speculation that former Vice President Mike Pence, former CIA Director and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will launch presidential bids.
Notably, Hutchinson has been highly critical of former President Donald Trump, often appearing on CNN and ABC News to target him. The former governor continued that trend earlier this month, saying that Trump should quit the 2024 race if he is indicted by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg—becoming one of the very few Republicans to back Bragg’s investigation and charges against Trump.
“I actually think more voices right now in opposition or providing an alternative to Donald Trump is the best thing in the right direction,” Hutchinson told CNN last month, coming before Bragg’s indictment that hasn’t been unsealed yet.
After Trump’s indictment was confirmed last week, Hutchinson said that “it is essential that the decision of America’s next president be made at the ballot box and not in the court system.” He again said that “Donald Trump should not be our next president, but that should be decided by the voters.”
The U.S. Constitution does not bar presidential candidates from seeking or holding office if they have been charged with a felony as it only says that a candidate must be aged 35 or older, be a natural-born citizen, and have lived in the United States for 14 years. Law experts have said that Trump could be serving time in prison and still be president if he’s elected.
A recent poll from Quinnipiac suggested that Hutchinson is a long-shot candidate. The former governor received fewer than 1 percent among voters when asked who they would vote for, garnering even less support than former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan—who, like Hutchinson—is another Trump critic who recently announced he would not be running in 2024.
Hutchinson ended his tenure as Arkansas’ governor in January as he was limited from seeking a third term in office. In 2021, he drew criticism from Republican state lawmakers for vetoing a bill that would block minors who claim to be transgender from seeking so-called “gender-affirming” drugs, although lawmakers in the state voted to override Hutchinson’s veto.
Hutchinson at the time attempted to claim that Republicans’ legislation that would bar such drugs and treatment for minors is statist. “I do hope my veto will cause my Republican colleagues across the country to resist the temptation to put the state in the middle of every decision made by parents and health care professionals,” Hutchinson said in a statement following the vote in 2021.
Some analysts have said that a large GOP field will only serve to benefit Trump, who enjoys significant support among Republican voters and was able to emerge from a crowded field of about a dozen major Republican candidates during the 2016 campaign. But Hutchinson told news outlets that he believes it will benefit him.
“In the early stages, multiple candidates that have an alternative vision to what the president has is good for our party, good for the debate, good for the upcoming debate that will be in August,” Hutchinson told CNN in March. “So, sure, that will narrow, and it will probably narrow fairly quickly. We need to have a lot of self-evaluation as you go along, but I think more voices now that provide alternative messages and problem-solving and ideas is good for our party,” he added.
From The Epoch Times