Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson qualifies for 2024 state presidential primary
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, flanked by family members as well as former staffers and cabinet members, filed as a Republican candidate for president in Arkansas Friday morning.
Hutchinson was all smiles, calling it a “historic moment” when he joined the likes of Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee as former Arkansas governors to run for president.
From his attitude, no one could tell he was polling at the bottom of the Republican field and failed to qualify for the last two GOP debates.
The Northwest Arkansas native has been busy on the campaign trail in early primary states, and he said he plans to return to Iowa tomorrow.
“I’m in this race because I believe as a party and a country we have gotten off course,” he said after filling out candidate paperwork in the state Capitol rotunda. “I bring what is needed in America to make sure that the next generation has the opportunities that we want them to have.”
He didn’t directly answer questions about what conditions would need to be met for him to drop out of the race, but he acknowledged that every candidate reevaluates their campaign on a daily basis.
He said it was a “fair question” to ask about a viable path to White House for his campaign, but he compared it to a professional golfer “grinding” out a round in a tournament.
“It takes a consistent persistency in order to win the presidency at this time.”
He said he is running because he sees the U.S. as a “nation at risk,” citing inflation, border security, foreign conflicts and the federal budget.
He also said that several fellow Republican candidates are espousing dangerous beliefs and proposals.
The primary is on March 5 in Arkansas. That date is this year’s “Super Tuesday” with primaries also being held in Alabama, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia.
Hutchinson said he believes that Arkansas’ primary will play a role in deciding who is the GOP nominee this cycle.
The 2024 candidate filing period began Monday in the Natural State, and it will continue through Tuesday.
As for Hutchinson, he acknowledged nothing is certain, but he said his $25,000 filing fee paid on Friday was a bet that he’d still be in the race in four months.
How will he measure the success of his campaign?
“Where can you help shape the direction of America?” he responded. “Sometimes, it’s as a candidate and sometimes it’s part of a team. We’ll measure that step by step. There’s no guarantee I’ll be in the race March 5. That’s correct, there’s no guarantee.
“But you can’t compete if you’re not on the ballot.”