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HomeUSFormer Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, potential presidential candidate, woos Orange County Republicans

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, potential presidential candidate, woos Orange County Republicans


Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a possible 2024 GOP presidential candidate, told Orange County Republicans Wednesday that the party must nominate a proven, consistent conservative leader who can win over independent and suburban voters to win back the White House.

“I think our country needs leaders who have been governors and who have led in difficult circumstances like a pandemic. We need to have people with experience in how to run large agencies and … how to balance a budget,” Hutchinson told about 50 members of the Laguna Niguel Republican Women’s Federated Club at a clubhouse on the San Juan Capistrano golf course.

Hutchinson, who was once an ally of former President Trump and now speaks against him, later added: “Frankly, we also need a course correction in our party.”

The 72-year-old spent three days in Southern California courting Republican activists, donors and voters in recent weeks before deciding in April whether to run for president next year.

In addition to speaking before the Republican Party women’s group, Hutchinson spoke at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, as well as at two events for the Orange County Republican Party. She also met with reporters and the New Majority and the Lincoln Club, two influential business-minded donor groups.

Hutchinson, who agrees it’s a long shot if he decides to run, is one of the few potential Republican contenders with a long list of bona fide Republicans who are outspoken critics of Trump.

Hutchinson has said that Trump, who has announced he will run again in 2024, appeals “to our country’s worst instincts” and that the nation should not “be led by arrogance and revenge in the future.”

Hutchinson told USA Today earlier this month that Trump, for whom he voted twice and whose campaign he chaired in Arkansas in 2020, should drop out of the race “out of respect for the institution of the United States presidency” if he is impeached, as the former president announced that it is expected to be in recent days.

Earlier this year, Hutchinson said that Trump should never be disqualified from holding elected office again due to his involvement in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol.

He also criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, saying it was naive of the likely 2024 contender to say the United States has no interest in trying to end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Trump and DeSantis, who has yet to officially announce a presidential run, lead in polls among Republican voters in California and across the country, while Hutchinson is largely unknown.

During his visit to Orange County, Hutchinson touted his record as governor of Arkansas, including cutting the state income tax by 2.1%, creating 100,000 private sector jobs, maintaining schools, and businesses open during the pandemic and the creation of a business-friendly environment that allowed the state to land a $3 billion steel plant, meaning Arkansas will overtake Pennsylvania in steel production.

He outlined five priorities he would focus on if he runs for president: ending rampant spending, reasserting US international leadership, securing the southern border, increasing domestic energy production and preventing the federal government from promoting what he called “a leftist social movement. diary.”

“I believe that we must win the hearts and minds of Americans back to the Republican side to show our leadership, and that we can win not only the conservative vote in a Republican primary, but we can win independent and suburban voters in the fall. elections,” Hutchinson said. “And I challenge everyone here as you evaluate candidates for leadership positions at any level, are you consistent conservatives, but second, can you win in November?”

Although Hutchinson has repeatedly said she won’t decide whether to run until April, her travel schedule shows how clearly she’s considering an offer. On the last day of his two terms as governor of Arkansas in January, he visited Iowa, which is scheduled to hold the first Republican nominating contest in 2024. Hutchinson also appeared in the early voting states of New Hampshire and South Carolina. .

In an interview, he said his decision would depend on “whether my consistent conservative message is right for the Republican Party and America (and) whether the finances can succeed.”

California, which has the most delegates to the Republican National Convention where the party will officially choose its nominee, moved its 2024 primary to March, increasing its weight in the process.

“California is important and it should be important,” he said in the interview. “I have always said that the Republican Party needs to be able to attract votes in California. And we can’t just be a Central American party.”

Hutchinson’s supporters believe he is an attractive presidential candidate because of his even temperament and long resume in Republican politics.

In addition to serving two terms as governor, Hutchinson spent four years in Congress, headed the Drug Enforcement Administration and was deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Previously, as a federal prosecutor, Hutchinson donned a bulletproof vest while helping to peacefully broker a standoff with violent white supremacists inside his remote compound in rural Arkansas.

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