The 2024 Republican presidential field just got larger. As many pundits await an expected campaign announcement from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson revealed over the weekend that he would be throwing his hat in the ring.
Although a formal announcement is not expected until later this month, he confirmed his intentions during an ABC News interview on Sunday.
“I’m confident that people want leaders that want the best of America, not those who appeal to their worst instincts,” Hutchinson said, adding: “I have made a decision and my decision is I’m going to run for president of the United States.”
While he did not call out early front-runner Donald Trump by name, the two Republicans have clashed on a number of topics in the past.
About two years ago, the former president referred to him as a “RINO” — an acronym for “Republican in Name Only” — for vetoing a bill to ban certain procedures on minors who identify as transgender.
Hutchinson went on to defend his decision, stating that the bill sent to his desk was “overbroad” and “extreme,” noting that he would have supported a narrower focus on the most controversial procedures.
“If this had been a bill that simply prohibited chemical castration, I would have signed the bill,” he said at the time.
As for the former governor’s thoughts about Trump’s bid for a second term, he has previously asserted that nominating the ex-president would be a “worst scenario” for the party and could secure President Joe Biden’s re-election.
Of course, a majority of the GOP appears to be lining up behind Trump even as additional candidates enter the fray. Hutchinson joins former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy in the group of Republicans taking on Trump ahead of next year’s election.
Trump is leading in the primaries poll. I wonder which other candidate can get enough funding against Trump?
It is likely that Trump will run as an independent candidate if not selected.
In that Case, Trump might still win, but anyone else fails without the Trump vote. https://t.co/BUllDpFiRC
— Make Peace Now; alternative news (@AlternatNews) April 3, 2023
In addition to DeSantis, several other prominent Republicans — including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina — have been the subject of speculation that they might also launch 2024 campaigns.
Most political operatives believe the GOP primary will come down to a choice between Trump and DeSantis, though, with many predicting that a crowded field of candidates would ultimately benefit the former president.
According to one campaign insider, “die-hard” Trump supporters will not vote for anyone other than him and “everyone else who gets in dilutes support for DeSantis.”