It's not to embrace the Trumpian state. It is for him to distance himself from it.
Hutchinson is acting the opposite of what Trump wants, at a time red state governors such as Kristi Noem in South Dakota and Ron DeSantis Florida are doing. Hutchinson is taking a contrarian stance that makes him outsider of the party he helped to build. This could be a test for whether there is a way forward for the ambitious Republicans in the reddest areas of the country that doesn’t depend on Trump.
Whit Ayres, Republican pollster, said that Hutchinson represents an important voice within the party, one that is relative independent of any established consensus. Whit Ayres worked with Hutchinson's firm before he became governor. "He thinks for him and that is refreshing.
Ayres stated that it was "very open to question" where the party is heading right now.
Hutchinson isn't much different from Trump when it comes down to style. Hutchinson, a mild-mannered lawyer, tweets Bible verses every Sunday morning. He attempts to reconcile the differences on contentious topics, such as when Hutchinson voted for the state's Medicaid expansion. However, he later blocked a work requirement.
With cases rising and vaccine rates falling, he's trying to manage a growing ominous COVID-19 environment in his state . Conservative lawmakers were angry at his previous restrictions and curtailed his ability to address the issue.
Hutchinson (70), is halfway through his second term and would appear poised to make a major move. Next week, Hutchinson will take over as the chairman of National Governors Association. This is a position his predecessors Bill Clinton (and Mike Huckabee) used to launch their White House bids. He has started a political committee to help Republican candidates for the next year's midterm elections.
He has also been a regular on cable TV, where he defends his veto against legislation that targets transgender youths in the State and warns fellow Republicans about being too close to Trump.
Hutchinson said that Trump would be the issue in 2022. He's not on our ballot. We have to be the party that has the ideas and principles that relate to the current events in the country. We cannot go back to last year's election, and we shouldn't.
Hutchinson is a contrast to other top Republican figures in the state, including the frontrunner for his replacement. Sarah Sanders is running for the nomination. Her campaign highlights her time as Trump’s press secretary. During this time, she frequently fought with reporters and defended Trump's most controversial policies.
Sen. Tom Cotton is a conservative with a strong edge. He has been setting the foundation for a presidential election, including visits to key early states.
Hutchinson's involvement in Arkansas politics goes back to 1980s when Ronald Reagan appointed Hutchinson as U.S. Attorney. After serving as the chair of Arkansas' Republican Party, he was elected to Congress. He then served as the Drug Enforcement Administration's chief and then as a federal Homeland Security official under George W. Bush.
Before winning the governorship in 2014, he ran unsuccessfully three times for statewide office. Some of his critics claim that the state's politics are behind him.
"What he has done over the past 30 to 40 years is not how the party will succeed moving forward," stated Republican Senator Trent Garner. Garner clashed often with Hutchinson. "While I appreciate Gov. "While I can appreciate Gov. Trump and Trumpism are the bold future for the Arkansas Republican Party.
Hutchinson will be leaving office in 2023. It's not clear what he will do next. Hutchinson isn't ruling out another run for the office, unlike his Democratic predecessor Mike Beebe.
He's not making any overt moves. He seems more interested in talking about dry policy than identity politics. In support of efforts to eliminate the disparity in sentencing between crack cocaine and powder cocaine offenders, he testified before a Senate panel. He is promoting computer science education in public schools, which is one of his favorite topics.
Hutchinson stated that next year's midterm elections may show whether his message is still being heard by the electorate.
Hutchinson, a conservative legislator, vetoed a bill banning gender-confirming treatments for transgender youth. Trump also criticized Hutchinson's veto which was quickly overruled.
The governor said that many bills were the result of culture wars, and therefore not necessary.
Hutchinson isn't as far as the right wing has been. Hutchinson was one of more than twenty governors to stop supplemental federal unemployment payment before they ran out. Other bills that restrict transgender rights were signed by him, including one banning trans girls from from participating in women's school sport teams.
He announced this week that he would join the growing number of GOP governors who direct law enforcement or other assistance to Texas in order to help with border security with Mexico. This is in an ongoing battle with the Biden administration regarding immigration policy. Hutchinson initially stated that he wouldn't send state troopers because of public safety concerns in the state. He announced hours later that he would dispatch up to 40 members of Arkansas' National Guard.
Hutchinson has stood up for his party even after his nephew, state senator Jim Hendren , made a high-profile exit following the deadly riot at U.S Capitol.
Hendren, who formed a group to promote centrist candidates pointed out his uncle as an example for Republicans in the post Trump era.
Hendren stated, "I would be shocked if he is ready to lay down the mantle of government service that he has carried for so many years."