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Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he is running for president

Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas and a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump, has announced he is running for president.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais
/
AP
Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas and a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump, has announced he is running for president.

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, saying he believes that "people want leaders that appeal to the best of America, and not simply appeal to our worst instincts."

His remarks, which came Sunday to ABC's This Week, put Hutchinson in a small Republican field that includes former President Donald Trump and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. Others, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, are expected to join the field but have not done so yet.

Hutchinson, a Republican moderate, told ABC that a formal announcement will be made later this month in Bentonville, Ark.

The announcement comes days after the former Arkansas governor spent days in Iowa, which will hold the first presidential caucus, leading to speculation that he would announce his intention to run.

The announcement comes just two days before Trump is expected to surrender to authorities in New York following his indictment by a Manhattan grand jury over hush-money payments made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels to cover up an alleged affair. Trump is the first person who has lived in the White House to face criminal charges. Hutchinson subsequently called on Trump to step aside from the race.

He told ABC the "grand jury found probable cause and that's the standard for any criminal charges in our society." That's a departure from the rest of his party that has called the charges politically motivated.

Hutchinson, who served two consecutive terms as his state's governor, was barred by term limits from running for governor in 2022. He was succeeded by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump's former spokeswoman.

It's unclear whether Hutchinson's candidacy can make inroads in a party that is firmly with Trump. Last week, the latest NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist poll showed that 8 in 10 Republicans agree with Trump and call the investigations a "witch hunt," and 8 in 10 Republicans continue to have a favorable opinion of him.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NPR Washington Desk