Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson drops White House bid

Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson drops White House bid

Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson drops White House bid By Reuters

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Published Jan 16, 2024 11:05AM ET
Updated Jan 16, 2024 11:47AM ET

© Reuters. Former Arkansas governor and 2024 Presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson speaks to media following the Republican Party of Iowa legislative breakfast at the Hilton Des Moines Downtown, in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. January 8, 2024. REUTERS/Alyssa Pointer/ File

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, one of the few Republican presidential hopefuls to forcefully criticize frontrunner Donald Trump, dropped out of the race on Tuesday after struggling to gain traction in the polls.

“My message of being a principled Republican with experience and telling the truth about the current front-runner did not sell in Iowa. I stand by the campaign I ran,” Hutchinson said in a statement.

He congratulated Trump on his decisive victory Monday in the Iowa Caucuses, the first nominating contest of the 2024 race.

Hutchinson, who launched his longshot bid for the 2024 Republican nomination in April with a call for Trump to exit the race, never rose above one percentage point in opinion polls and did not qualify for the party’s second debate in September.

Hutchinson sought to position himself as the “non-Trump” candidate, saying the former president bore “significant responsibility” for the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters and that he was unfit to be president again.

That strategy fell short, a reflection of the grip Trump holds over a large contingent of the Republican electorate. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the only other candidate to put his opposition to Trump at the center of his campaign message, has also languished in the polls.

Hutchinson was governor of Arkansas from 2015 until early 2023. Prior to that, he was a federal prosecutor, served three terms in the House of Representatives and held senior positions in the administration of Republican President George W. Bush.

His resume as a traditional conservative and his polite demeanor ultimately proved to be a poor fit for the combative nature of Republican politics dominated by Trump.

Hutchinson’s departure from the race was not unexpected. In late October, his then campaign manager Rob Burgess left, citing his belief that Hutchinson could not win. And Hutchinson himself had stated a goal of boosting his poll numbers to 4% in an early caucus or primary state by Thanksgiving, which fell on Nov. 23 this year, which he failed to do.

Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson drops White House bid

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