Asa Hutchinson Hasn't Changed, but Arkansas Has (AP Analysis)

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press  on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 5:33 pm  

Asa Hutchinson isn't offering many clues on what he'll run on when he makes his bid official, but a glance at his 2006 campaign provides some clue about his policy ideas — and potential lines of attack against him. (Photo by University of Arkansas)


Asa Hutchinson, the former congressman and the only announced Republican candidate for Arkansas' 2014 governor's race, hasn't changed much since his unsuccessful bid for the state's top office nearly seven years ago.

This is still the candidate who's lost three bids at statewide office. He's a longtime lawyer who seems more at home in a courtroom than at campaign rallies. And he's still the former lawmaker who helped prosecute the impeachment case against Arkansas' favorite political son.

He is also the same low-key politician despite using an exclamation point in his campaign materials — Asa!

And while his resume hasn't changed, he is hopeful that his state has. He'll be the first to tell you that's what makes his new campaign so attractive.

"That was then. This is now," Hutchinson said last week. "It's not what I do differently, but how much the political climate has changed."

For someone whose public service career goes back to his days as a U.S. attorney appointed by Ronald Reagan, the climate doesn't get much better than this.

Hutchinson is launching his gubernatorial bid after an election where Republicans won control of the House and Senate for the first time since Reconstruction and swept all four of the state's U.S. House seats.

The former congressman also joins a race that's been rocked by Democratic candidate and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's admission that he had an extramarital relationship with a Hot Springs lawyer who had handled cases McDaniel's office defended.

McDaniel has remained out of the public eye since admitting the relationship with Andrea Davis, refusing repeated requests for interviews and avoiding public events while questions still loom about the impact the relationship had on the cases.

But Hutchinson — like the potential candidates eyeing a bid for governor — says he isn't focusing on the relationship as an issue in the race.

"The issues that I think are there are jobs and education," he said.



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