Tuesday, January 9, 2024
Year : 1, Issue : 19
The former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, a stalwart conservative willing to sharply criticize Donald Trump, has suspended his beleaguered bid for the White House the day after the Iowa caucuses.
“My message of being a principled Republican with experience and telling the truth about the current front runner did not sell in Iowa,” he said in a statement. “I stand by the campaign I ran. I answered every question, sounded the warning to the GOP about the risks in 2024 and presented hope for our country’s future.”
A long shot from the start, Hutchinson launched his campaign in the spring with a pledge to “bring out the best of America”. But with opinion polls showing Trump far ahead of his Republican rivals in the early voting states and the scrap for second place increasingly a contest between the Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, and former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, Hutchinson’s decision to exit the race was hardly surprising.
The 72-year-old former governor had struggled to gain traction among Republican voters, hovering below 1% in an average of public opinion polls. Though he competed in the first presidential primary debate, he failed to qualify for each subsequent debate.
Hutchinson kept up his sharp criticism of Trump, drawing boos from the crowd at a conservative conference in Florida when he said there was a “significant likelihood that Donald Trump will be found guilty by a jury on a felony offense next year”.
Over the jeering, Hutchinson warned that continuing to support Trump would hurt Republicans in 2024 and “weaken the GOP for decades to come”.
Hutchinson announced his bid for the White House shortly after Joe Biden launched his re-election campaign, arguing that both Biden, 80, and Trump, 77, were focused on the past rather than the future.
On the campaign trail, he often highlighted his long career in public service to draw a contrast with Trump.
As governor, he amassed a conservative record on taxes, guns and abortion. During his term, he signed into law a “trigger” ban on abortions at every stage of pregnancy, which took effect when the US supreme court overturned Roe v Wade in 2022. It includes no exceptions for pregnancies that result from rape or incest.
Hutchinson left office in 2023. Trump’s former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders succeeded him as governor.
Source: The Guardian