With every month, we move closer to the first Republican Primary. February 2024 will mark the start of the 2024 presidential election’s “last lap.” Before the primaries play out, the country may debate ideas or general ideologies, but we won’t have a definite face to put on each party’s bid.
Naturally, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do some of the legwork ahead of time. Today, we’ll look a bit closer into one of the possible main characters to come. Asa Hutchinson, the experienced former governor of Arkansas, may not have the mass-media appeal of Trump or De Santis – but he may be able to garner the broad appeal that ultimately wins national elections.
Who is Asa Hutchinson?
Like many other aspiring statesmen, Asa Hutchinson arrived at politics via the legal profession. After earning a degree in accounting from Bob Jones University, he attended the University Of Arkansas School Of Law and gained his J.D. in 1975.
He then settled quickly as a prosecutor and was first made into a U.S. Attorney for Western Arkansas by Ronald Reagan. After a successful array of high-profile prosecutions, he earned public notoriety by helping negotiate the end of a tense standoff between local police, state troopers, and extremist leader James Ellison. He ran for Arkansas’s senate for the first time the following year.
Hutchinson comes from a politically-minded and deeply Christian family. His brother Tim, also a Bob Jones University graduate, served as a State Representative and a U.S. Senator. He also has four children with his wife Susan Burrell, whom he married during his early 20s.
What’s His Political Resume?
Although he was defeated during his first, 1986 House bid, Hutchinson remained close to high-profile cases and party leaders.
He served as one of the prosecutors during Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1997. After his term ended in 2001, he served the Department of Homeland Security, where he led several task teams as part of the War on Drugs. He was elected as the 46th governor of Arkansas in 2015 and held the post until January 2023.
The final years of his tenure as Governor positioned him as an outspoken leader of the “Trump-critical” wing of the Republican Party. Throughout both his House and Gubernatorial terms, he has consistently defended States’ rights and has fought against governmental overreach in topics such as taxation and public health.
Hutchinson’s Approach to the Nomination
Hutchinson had hinted at a possible Presidential bid since 2022. However, the official announcement did not come until April 2, 2023. During a one-on-one interview with ABC News, he declared the current year to be “one of the most unpredictable political environments” he’d ever seen.
Now firmly established as a right-of-center, but largely moderate candidate, he followed his announcement by publicly requesting Donald Trump to drop out of the race. In light of Trump’s indictment, he stated that we needed “leaders that appeal to the best of America.”
Although it is too soon to see whether his campaign will warm up, Asa Hutchinson now offers an opportunity for a change of direction within the party. He began his career by holding extremists accountable, and he now seems determined to root them out of his own party.
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