Potential presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson courts OC Republicans

Former Governor of Arkansas. Asa Hutchinson, a potential 2024 GOP presidential nominee, told Orange County Republicans on Wednesday that the party must nominate a proven leader and a consistent conservative who can attract independent and suburban voters to reclaim the White House.

“I believe that our country needs leaders who have been governors and led in difficult conditions, such as a pandemic. We need people with experience in running large agencies and…how to balance the budget,” Hutchinson told 50 members of the Laguna Niguel Republican Women’s Federation Club at the San Juan Capistrano Golf Course.

Hutchinson, once an ally of former President Trump who now opposes him, later added, “Frankly, we need a course correction in our party as well.”

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

In addition to speaking to the GOP Women’s Group, Hutchinson has spoken at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, as well as at two Orange County GOP events. He also met with reporters and the New Majority and the Lincoln Club, two powerful business-oriented donor groups.

Hutchinson, who agrees that he stands little chance if he chooses to run, is one of the few potential GOP candidates with a long list of bona fide Republicans who openly criticize Trump.

Hutchinson said that Trump, who announced he was running again in 2024, was appealing “to the worst instincts of our country” and that the nation should not be “in the future guided by arrogance and revenge.”

Earlier this month, Hutchinson told USA Today that Trump, whom he twice voted for and whose campaign he led in Arkansas in 2020, should drop out of the race “out of respect for the institution of the presidency of the United States” if he is indicted. The ex-president said that they were waiting for him in the last days.

Earlier this year, Hutchinson said Trump should be disqualified from holding elected office because of his participation in the January election. December 6, 2021 Uprising at the US Capitol.

He also criticized the Florida governor. Ron DeSantis said it was naïve for a likely 2024 contender to say the United States was not interested in trying to end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Trump and DeSantis, who have not yet officially announced their participation in the presidential election, lead the polls among Republican voters in California and across the country, while Hutchinson is widely unknown.

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

He outlined five priorities he would focus on if he ran for president: stopping uncontrolled spending, restoring American international leadership, securing the southern border, increasing domestic energy production, and preventing the federal government from promoting what he called “leftist social policies.” “. agenda.”

“I think we need to win the hearts and minds of Americans back on the Republican side to demonstrate our leadership and that we can win not only the Conservative vote in the Republican primary, but that we can win independent voters and voters in the fall.” from the suburbs. elections,” Hutchinson said. “And I challenge everyone here when you evaluate candidates for leadership positions at any level, are they consistent conservatives, but secondly, can they win in November?”

While Hutchinson has repeatedly said he won’t make a decision on whether to run until April, his travel schedule shows how clearly he’s considering the offer. On the last day of his two terms as governor of Arkansas in January, he visited Iowa, where the first Republican nomination contest is scheduled to take place in 2024. Hutchinson also appeared in the states of New Hampshire and South Carolina with early voting.

In an interview, he said his decision would depend on “whether or not my consistent conservative message for the Republican Party and America is right.” [and] if finances can be successful.”

California, which has the most delegates to the Republican National Convention, where the party will formally select its candidate, has pushed back its 2024 primary to March, increasing its weight in the process.

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

Hutchinson’s supporters consider him an attractive presidential candidate due to his level-headed temperament and long experience in Republican Party politics.

In addition to his two terms as governor, Hutchinson spent four years in Congress, headed the Drug Enforcement Administration, and was an undersecretary in the Department of Homeland Security. Previously, as a U.S. Attorney, Hutchinson donned a bulletproof vest to help peacefully negotiate a standoff with violent white supremacists at their remote rural Arkansas home.