Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) formally launched his presidential campaign on Wednesday after announcing he was going to run for the 2024 Republican nomination earlier this month.
“Today I’m announcing that I’m a candidate for president of the United States,” Hutchinson said in Bentonville, Ark.
Hutchinson hit the Biden administration’s handling of the economy, touting his own economic record as governor.
“Every hardworking American family gets a double hit from the Biden economy,” Hutchinson said. “That is not acceptable.”
“I’ve been chief executive of our state for eight years, and that means I know how to balance a budget,” he said.
While Hutchinson did not bring up former President Trump by name, he appeared to push back on Trump’s stances and past remarks.
Hutchinson vowed not to defund the FBI, something Trump has called for. The former governor also railed against isolationism, a foreign policy strategy.
“We need leaders who understand the importance of democracy to our own freedom. … America is a democracy’s lighthouse. We must not let the light be dimmed.”
Hutchinson has positioned himself as a “non-Trump” candidate and has called on the former president to drop out of the race.
“You’ve got to carve your own lane,” Hutchinson told The Hill in an interview earlier this month.
“The last thing that we need is another Joe Biden-Donald Trump race in 2024, so if you don’t accept that proposition that you have to yield, then you have to get in there and fight,” he continued.
“I fight for my convictions. I fight for the country that I believe needs new leadership and to find the differences, not just with Donald Trump, but more importantly with Joe Biden,” he said.
The former governor will face an uphill climb in the primary, which has been dominated by Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who has yet to officially jump into the race. A Quinnipiac University survey released last month shows the former Arkansas governor registering at less than 1 percent in support from Republican voters. Trump led the field with 47 percent support, while DeSantis followed at 33 percent.