SALINE COUNTY, Ark. – Former governor Asa Hutchinson’s 2024 presidential bid is resulting in some division within his own party.
The Saline County Republican Committee announced their opposition to Hutchinson’s presidential run Tuesday. This news comes just before he formally announces his 2024 candidacy Wednesday.
Saline County Republican Committee vice-chair Jennifer Lancaster said two-thirds of committee members voted under party rules to give the former governor a status of ‘not recommended’ based on his leadership during the pandemic, and his failure to support a few Republican-backed bills while he was governor.
In an interview regarding the press release, Lancaster said while the committee has not taken a stance on any candidates to support as the GOP nominee, she can say that they will not support Hutchinson, despite him running as a Republican from their home state.
“We need somebody strong,” Lancaster said. “We need somebody bold who is willing to take on the controversial issues and the tough issues, and he is not that person.”
KARK 4 News asked Hutchinson about those in the Republican Party who have said he is ‘too moderate’ or called him a ‘RINO’ (Republican in Name Only).
“I have a conservative record of pro-life values, lowering taxes, of promoting the private sector,” Hutchinson said. “That, to me, is the conservatism that we need for our future.”
Hutchinson also noted that Arkansas was a blue state when he first started in politics, and his early days in public service played a large part in that shift to becoming a red state.
“If you look at my record, I have been fighting the establishment before the Republican Party was in viable in this state,” Hutchinson said. “We were so blue that you could not even see a red dot anywhere.”
Just as he fought Democrats in his early days in politics, Hutchinson said he can fight back now as well, for the GOP nomination and general election.
“I understand fighting the trend, fighting the establishment,” Hutchinson said. “I am a fighter.”