Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson Enters 2024 Presidential Race

Former GOP Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has announced his intention to run for president in 2024, presenting himself as an alternative for Republicans looking to shift the party’s focus away from President Donald Trump. Hutchinson, 72, has been increasingly critical of Trump in recent months, arguing that another Trump presidential nomination would be the “worst scenario” for Republicans and could likely benefit Joe Biden’s chances at reelection in 2024.

As a prominent figure in Arkansas politics since the 1980s, Hutchinson has experience in various political roles, including serving as a former congressman, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration under President George W. Bush, and an undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

As governor, Hutchinson championed income tax cuts, signed several abortion restrictions into law, and supported Arkansas’ version of Medicaid expansion. While he has supported Trump’s policies, Hutchinson has increasingly criticized the former president and his challenges in the 2020 presidential election.

Hutchinson will join a Republican primary field that already includes Trump, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. In addition, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ®, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are also considering bids. Although Hutchinson is seen as a long-shot candidate in the race, his entry adds a different perspective to the growing field of contenders.

During his tenure as governor, Hutchinson focused on policy and transparency, as evidenced by his efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Hutchinson is known for tweeting Bible verses every Sunday morning, reflecting his more measured approach to communication.

It remains to be seen if Hutchinson’s more moderate positions will resonate with the broader Republican base, as some of his policies have been controversial with conservatives. For example, he faced criticism for vetoing legislation banning gender-affirming medical care for children. This move led to Trump labeling him a “RINO” (Republican In Name Only).

Meanwhile, Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Jaime Harrison has described Hutchinson as an “extremist” in the race for the MAGA base, citing his support for strict abortion bans and efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s protections for those with preexisting conditions.