As most in GOP double down on Trump, Arkansas governor says it is a losing strategy

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is warning his party could lose 2022 elections with Trump focus, but other Republicans in his state dismiss governor a 'relic of the past.'
Asa Hutchinson

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is staking out a position that runs directly into the headwinds of his Republican Party.

Hutchinson, a soft-spoken former federal prosecutor and congressman, is saying he believes his party's embrace of former President Donald Trump will cost it the 2022 elections.

“If Trump is the issue in 2022, we lose,” Hutchinson told The Associated Press in a recent interview published on Sunday. “He’s not on the ballot and we have to be the party of ideas and principles that are relevant to what’s happening in our country today. We can’t be revisiting what happened last election and we can’t re-litigate that.”

Hutchinson's warning flies in the face of most polling. In a Quinnipiac poll published last month, two-thirds of Republicans said they wanted Trump to run in 2024, and 85 percent said they wanted the party's nominee to embrace Trumpian policies.

The disconnect between Hutchinson and many in his overtly pro-Trump state GOP is fraying nerves.

“While I can appreciate Gov. Hutchinson’s service, he is a relic of the past," Republican State Sen. Trent Garner told the news service. "Trump and Trumpism is the bold new future of the Arkansas Republican Party.”