Former Republican Governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, announced Sunday he would seek the GOP presidential nomination and positioned himself as an alternative to former President Donald Trump only days after a New York grand jury indicted him.
Hutchinson maintains that Trump should drop out of the race, saying, “the office is more important than any individual person.”
The former governor announced his candidacy on ABC’s “This Week” and decided to run because “I believe that I am the right time for America, the right candidate for our country and its future. I am convinced that people want leaders that appeal to the best of America and not simply appeal to our worst instincts.”
Hutchinson’s candidacy will test the Republican party’s appetite for those critical of Trump.
In a later Sunday interview with the Associated Press, Hutchinson said voters needed to have options other than Trump and “not simply go by default to somebody who is really wrapped around what happened in the past.”
“I don’t think you have to be blustery. I think you can be honest and authentic, and that’s what I want to be able to offer,” said Hutchinson.
Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is predicted to enter the field of candidates in the summer. Along with Trump, the former governor joins a GOP field that includes entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, and former Vice President Mike Pence are also among individuals considering bids.
“I think I stand out by stating my convictions and my vision for the country,” said Hutchinson. “I think that is illustrated in the last week, in how I’ve handled the Trump indictment, how I’ve handled how we need to move forward as a party and a country.”
Hutchinson’s official announcement set for April 26
Former Gov. Hutchinson’s official campaign announcement will happen on April 26 in his hometown of Bentonville. He will campaign in Kentucky, Iowa, and Indiana in the coming weeks.
Hutchinson said he would be competitive in locations like Iowa, where face-to-face campaigning in places like diners is typical. He also said he believes he can be financially competitive, though “certainly it’s not going to be at the level of the Donald Trumps of the world.”
Mr. Hutchinson, 72, left office in January after serving eight years as governor. Recently, he has ramped up his criticism of Trump, calling another Trump presidential nomination the “worst scenario” for the GOP. He said he believes it will benefit President Joe Biden’s 2024 chances.
As governor, Hutchison signed several abortion restrictions into law and championed a series of income tax cuts.
The former governor is known for his policy speeches as opposed to fiery rhetoric and often uses graphs and charts in his news conferences. He also tweets Bible verses every Sunday morning.