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Bryan Preston


March 22, 2013 - 11:06 am

Former Republican Rep. Asa Hutchinson is running for governor of Arkansas. That state is shifting red but Republicans still have not captured all statewide offices. The incumbent, Democrat Mike Beebe, defeated Hutchinson in 2006. Current polling has Hutchinson as the front-runner for 2014, though his lead against one of the Democratic contenders is a mere five points. His record may hurt Republicans in a race that is very winnable for the GOP.

When he ran for governor in 2006, Hutchinson railed against Arkansas’ tax system, but then failed to support an important tax cut, before changing his mind.

Hutchinson stumbled on the issue of taxes early in his campaign, initially saying that a cut in the state’s grocery tax wasn’t part of his agenda. He later called for a complete elimination of the tax, as opposed to the phased-out cut that Beebe ran on. Beebe regularly accused Hutchinson of flip-flopping on the tax issue during the campaign.

So there’s a tw0-fer: Not being an instinctive tax cutter, and possibly being a flip-flopper. Both provide openings for runs to Hutchinson’s right in an increasingly conservative state.

In 2000, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that Hutchinson spoke against the elimination of the federal gas tax as pump prices started upward. And in 2001, he voted against eliminating the marriage tax. It passed the House 282-144 without his vote.

Hutchinson’s record also includes a tilt toward supporting higher taxes on airline tickets.

Arkansas Republicans may want to consider nominating a candidate who hasn’t lost three statewide races already, as Hutchinson has, and whose record on taxes is a bit more consistent with the party’s philosophy.


Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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Hutchinson's real problem is that in Arkansas people have voted for people they politically disagree with simply because they think he is a good guy. (See Dale Bumpers, David Pryor, and Bill Clinton). Hutchinson is simply not a people person. In 2006 I was eating at a restaurant in Little Rock with 2 other physicians where there was only one other table being served. Hutchinson and a party of three came in and sat two tables over. He never came over and introduced himself. Can't speak for Bumpers but I guarantee that David Pryor and Bill Clinton would have been over there shaking hands and chatting if they were running for governor.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mr. Landry-

You must be from out of state. Coleman is not respected here. He garnered a mere 4.9% in a race only 2 years ago for Senate. His fundraising will be thin to none outside his slim follower base and family money (not his, but his father in law's). He has major baggage, as a former pastor who had an affair that split a church. Not trying to gossip, this is all out there. He's also on the hook for millions in sweetheart loans from the state of Arkansas. He's an awful candidate because he has a whole U Haul of baggage he brings to the race. Just today he was clipped by channel 7 for operating a sham charity.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Asa Hutchinson is a fine man -- I retain great respect for his role as a House manager in the Clinton impeachment; however, he is not the individual to be Arkansas' governor today. With the legislature pulling the state sharply to the right, we need a governor who "gets it" from the standpoint of providing strong leadership regarding where we are and where we need to go. That individual is Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman who is seeking the GOP nod for governor. Coleman is campaiging on two basic themes 1) tax and regulatory relief to allow Arkansas to prosper along with other Sunbelt states, and 2) pushing back against overreaching federal control.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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