Asa Hutchinson refuses to rule out 2024 GOP presidential bid

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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Sunday refused to rule out a run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Mr. Hutchinson, who is term-limited as Arkansas’ governor, was asked about his interest in a White House run during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I am concentrating on the present, which is getting through this pandemic, supporting Arkansas through my term,” Mr. Hutchinson said. “I want to be engaged for a national debate. It is important for the direction of our party and our country.”

“That is my immediate concentration,” he added. “We’ll see what the future holds.”

If he were to run, Mr. Hutchinson would be a long shot for the GOP nomination. In recent months he has sparred over transgender issues with  conservative activists, who are an influential cohort of the Republican base.

Mr. Hutchinson drew widespread rebuke in April for vetoing a ban on gender-reassignment drugs and procedures for minors. At the time, the governor said his decision was made from a desire to keep the government out of individuals’ private lives.

“I’m a person of faith, but at the same time, I’m a person [who believes in the] limited role of government. I sign pro-life bills, I signed many bills that would be looked at as very conservative, but this is one that crosses the line. There’s no need for it,” said Mr. Hutchinson.

Activists and high-profile conservative media personalities, most notably Fox News’ Tucker Carlson saw the move as a sellout. Mr. Carlson, in particular, suggested the governor’s veto came after pressure from corporate America, including the Arkansas-based retail giant Walmart.

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