Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has announced that he’s running for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, launching a challenge to former President Donald Trump, who remains the front-runner despite his looming criminal indictment.
“I’m convinced that people want leaders that appeal to the best of America, and not simply appeal to our worst instincts,” Hutchinson said in an interview on ABC New that aired Sunday.
The GOP primary field is still in its early stages. Trump announced a third presidential campaign last year, while Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and US ambassador to the United Nations, became the first major rival to challenge him when she announced her bid in February. A number of other Republicans, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence, have been making moves suggesting they are considering presidential bids.
Hutchinson ended his tenure as Arkansas governor in early January, limited from seeking a third term but freeing him up to pursue a bid for the White House.
On his last day in office, he traveled to Iowa, the first Republican contest of the 2024 calendar, and has since ramped up visits to other crucial early voting states. A frequent critic of Trump, he has hinted at a potential presidential run for months, with repeated calls for a new direction for the GOP.
“I actually think more voices right now in opposition or providing an alternative to Donald Trump is the best thing in the right direction,” Hutchinson told CNN’s Dana Bash last month.
Following Trump’s indictment by a Manhattan grand jury last week, Hutchinson has been the rare Republican to call on the former president to drop out of the 2024 race, telling Fox Business that the case was a “distraction” and a “shame for America.”
Some Republican strategists say a crowded 2024 primary field would be advantageous to Trump, who still enjoys significant support among the party base, and could splinter the anti-Trump vote, allowing the former president to walk away with the nomination.
But Hutchinson has repeatedly maintained that a large field early in the competition would ultimately be good for the party.
“In the early stages, multiple candidates that have an alternative vision to what the president has is good for our party, good for the debate, good for the upcoming debate that will be in August,” Hutchinson told CNN last month.
“So, sure, that will narrow, and it will probably narrow fairly quickly. We need to have a lot of self-evaluation as you go along, but I think more voices now that provide alternative messages and problem-solving and ideas is good for our party,” he added.
This story has been updated with additional information.