New editions of the State Legislative Tracker and The Policy Tracker available now!

Asa Hutchinson

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Asa Hutchinson
Governor of Arkansas
In office
January 13, 2015 - present
Term ends
January 2019
Years in position 0
PredecessorMike Beebe (D)
Base salary$86,890
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First electedNovember 4, 2014
Next generalNovember 6, 2018
Term limitsTwo terms
Prior offices
U.S. House of Representatives
Undersecretary, Department of Homeland Security
Director, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency
Bachelor'sBob Jones University (1972)
J.D.University of Arkansas School of Law (1975)
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
William "Asa" Hutchinson (b. December 3, 1950) is the 46th and current Republican Governor of Arkansas. Hutchinson was first elected to the position in 2014, and was sworn into office on January 13, 2015.[1][2] He succeeded term-limited Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe. The governor is the state's chief executive officer.

Eight years before Hutchinson replaced Beebe, the two faced off in the 2006 open gubernatorial race, and Beebe beat Hutchinson by nearly 15 percentage points in the November election. Hutchinson decided to run again in 2014, the next cycle in which the seat would be open by a termed-out incumbent, and found success this time around. After securing the Republican nomination in the May 20 primary, Hutchinson handily overtook main competitor Mike Ross (D) and two others on November 4, 2014. He won with 55.4 percent of the total general election vote, almost the same share taken by Beebe in 2006.

Hutchinson served as a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1997 to 2001. He was first elected in 1996 and won re-election in 1998 and 2000. Hutchinson resigned his seat in 2001 to serve in the Bush Administration as head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. In 2003, he was appointed Undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security, Department of Homeland Security.


Hutchinson is a Bentonville, Ark. native and career attorney. He earned his bachelor's degree from Bob Jones University in 1972 and graduated from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1975.

Hutchinson practiced law in Fort Smith for 21 years. In 1982, he became the youngest U.S. Attorney in the country when he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as a U.S. Attorney for the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas. He made national headlines for his prosecution of a white supremacist organization.

Prior to assuming the governor's office, Hutchinson was a principal in the Hutchinson Group, an organization that provides business consulting, founded in 2005.[3]


  • B.S. - Bob Jones University (1972)
  • J.D. - University of Arkansas School of Law (1975)

Political career

Governor of Arkansas (2015-Present)

Hutchinson has served as Governor of Arkansas since January 13, 2015. He was first elected on November 4, 2014.


Recall of Arkansas' "Religious Freedom Law"

On April 1, 2015, Hutchinson called for a swift retooling of House Bill 1128, the religious exception measure whose recent passage in the Arkansas Legislature brought a nationwide firestorm of controversy to the state and its new governor. Arkansas was one of 12 states, including Indiana, to bring "religious freedom" laws to the floor in the first sessions of 2015.[4] Hutchinson previously indicated his support for bill, which he wanted to "mirror" the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) signed by President Bill Clinton in spirit but be customized for Arkansas' cultural landscape.[5] Despite seemingly harmless packaging, one week before Hutchinson faced the decision whether to approve the measure, Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) was condemned by civil rights and business leaders across the country when he approved a similar religious freedom law, becoming the 20th U.S. state to do so. Opponents fiercely argued the measure's thinly-veiled goal was to further entrench institutionalized discrimination against same-sex couples, and their outrage dovetailed with the subsequent passage of Arkansas' version of the bill. The public's reaction motivated Hutchinson to reject the bill in its current form, giving the general assembly mere days to revise the bill's wording or draft a new provision to prevent the law from granting businesses carte blanche to deprive services to the members of the LGBT community. Arkansas is "a state that does not discriminate and respects tolerance," Hutchinson assured critics after sending the bill back to the assembly.[5] In addition to inopportune timing, given the backlash against Pence and a political climate favorable to gay rights, immense pressure from individuals and organizations representing a wide variety of personal, political and business interests factored into Hutchinson's decision not to sign HB 1228. Opponents included his own son, Seth Hutchinson, Wal-Mart, the state's leading private job-provider, and the mayor of Little Rock. Although not satisfied with the first version, Hutchinson suggested he would sign the religious freedom bill once it aligned closer with the spirit of the federal RFRA.[5][4]

"What is important from an Arkansas standpoint is one, we get the right balance and secondly, we make sure that we communicate we're not going to be a state that fails to recognize the diversity of our workplace, our economy and our future." [6]

—Asa Hutchinson[5]

State lawmakers acted quickly to adjust the bill to match Hutchinson's standards for approval. In the span of a day, a compromise bill was prepared and passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers of the legislature. On April 2, Hutchinson signed the amended version of Arkansas' Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law, effective immediately.[7]

Undersecretary, Department of Homeland Security (2003-2005)

Hutchinson served as the Undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security, Department of Homeland Security from 2003-2005. He was appointed to the position by President George W. Bush.

Director, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (2001-2003)

Hutchinson resigned his seat in the U.S. House in 2001 to serve in the Bush Administration as head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

U.S. House of Representatives (1996-2002)

He served in the U.S. Congress for three terms, from 1996-2002. He was elected as a Republican to the One Hundred Fifth Congress and to the two succeeding Congresses. He served until his resignation on August 6, 2001 (January 3, 1997 to August 6, 2001).

Hutchinson was one of the managers appointed by the House of Representatives in 1998 to conduct the impeachment proceedings of President William Jefferson Clinton.

On The Issues Vote Match

Asa Hutchinson's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Hutchinson is a Moderate Conservative. Hutchinson received a score of 30 percent on social issues and 74 percent on economic issues.[8]

On The Issues organization logo.

The table below contains the results of analysis compiled by staff at On The Issues.

On The Issues Vote Quiz[9]
Economic Issues Social Issues
Issue Stance Issue Stance
Legally require hiring women & minorities Opposes Abortion is a woman's unrestricted right Strongly Opposes
Expand ObamaCare Opposes Comfortable with same-sex marriage Strongly Opposes
Vouchers for school choice Strongly Opposes Keep God in the public sphere Strongly Favors
Absolute right to gun ownership Strongly Favors Human needs over animal rights Unknown
Higher taxes on the wealthy Strongly Opposes Stricter punishment reduces crime Opposes
Support & expand free trade Strongly Favors Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens Opposes
Stricter limits on political campaign funds Opposes Maintain US sovereignty from UN Strongly Opposes
Prioritize green energy Strongly Opposes Expand the military Favors
Stimulus better than market-led recovery Strongly Opposes Stay out of Iran Unknown
Privatize Social Security Favors Never legalize marijuana Strongly Favors
Note: Information last updated: April 19, 2015.[8] If you notice the rating has changed, email us.

Elections & Appointments


See also: Arkansas Gubernatorial election, 2014

Hutchinson ran for Governor of Arkansas in 2014.[2] He won the Republican nomination in the primary election on May 20, 2014. He defeated Mike Ross (D), Josh Drake (G) and Frank Gilbert (L) in the general election on November 4, 2014.


Republican primary
Governor of Arkansas, Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngAsa Hutchinson 73% 130,752
Curtis Coleman 27% 48,473
Total Votes 179,225
Election Results via Arkansas Secretary of State.
General election
Governor of Arkansas, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngAsa Hutchinson 55.4% 470,429
     Democratic Mike Ross 41.5% 352,115
     Libertarian Frank Gilbert 1.9% 16,319
     Green Josh Drake 1.1% 9,729
Total Votes 848,592
Election Results via Arkansas Secretary of State.

Race background

Democratic incumbent Gov. Mike Beebe was ineligible for re-election in 2014 due to term limits, setting the stage for a highly competitive race. Over a year before the election, polling figures and ratings reports - from sources such as The Washington Post, Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, Governing and Daily Kos - already labeled Beebe's seat as a "toss-up" and labelled Arkansas among the states most vulnerable to partisan switch in the 2014 gubernatorial election cycle.[10][11][12][13]

Despite announcing in December 2012 that he would not run for governor in 2014, former U.S. Rep. Mike Ross (D) re-emerged as a potential candidate in the wake of state attorney general and expected front-runner Dustin McDaniel's exit from the race.[14][15][16] "Dustin McDaniel getting out of the race has left a huge void which clearly none of the other candidates are filling or I wouldn't be getting all these calls from every corner of the state...I'm humbled by that and I feel a sense of duty and responsibility to the people of this state to at least reconsider my decision and I'm doing that," Ross said at U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor's (D-AR) re-election fundraiser in March 2013.[17] Ross officially launched his campaign on April 17, 2013. The only other declared Democratic candidate at the time of his announcement, Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter, left the race in July when he found himself trailing in fundraising and immediately threw his support behind Ross.[18][19]

Ross overtook Lynette "Doc" Bryant for the Democratic nomination in the May 20, 2014 primary election.[20] Former U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson defeated businessman Curtis Coleman in the Republican primary, earning the chance to win back the office for their party.[18]

The Libertarian Party and the Green Party selected their candidates for governor by convention. Libertarian nominee Frank Gilbert and Green Party nominee Josh Drake appeared on the November 4 general election ballot with Ross and Hutchinson.[21][22][23]

Money in the race

On May 13, 2014, candidates were required to file pre-primary campaign finance reports detailing their fundraising and expenditures since April 1. Before winning their respective parties' nominations on May 20, Mike Ross (D) and Asa Hutchinson (R) both reported spending more than they took in over the previous month. Ross outraised Hutchinson $491,000 to $240,375, and Hutchinson outspent Ross by about $80,000. A large portion of each candidates' campaign expenditures went toward television advertisements. This was especially true for Hutchinson, who went $439,000 airing his ads across Arkansas—more than triple what Ross spent.[24]

Heading into the May 20 primaries, Ross reported a remaining balance of $2 million, compared to Hutchinson's remaining balance of $904,000. Defeated GOP primary challenger Curtis Coleman raised $62,060 and spent $72,622 in April 2014, while Ross' Democratic primary opponent Lynette Bryant failed to file by the reporting period deadline.[25][24]

McDaniel cancels long-anticipated campaign

In June 2012, term-limited Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel (D) filed paperwork to start raising money for his 2014 gubernatorial campaign.[26] McDaniel had been considered the Democratic frontrunner, but revelations that he had engaged in extra-martial relations with a Hot Springs attorney, Andi Davis, whom he met around his 2010 re-election, ultimately proved too significant a publicity threat to his campaign.[27] He dropped out of the race on January 25, 2013, explaining in an e-mail to supporters, "I had hoped that I could shape the 2014 gubernatorial debate with my vision for the future. Unfortunately, I am now convinced that if I run for Governor, this campaign would be about me personally, rather than Arkansas's future."[28]

Ballot access for political parties

See also: Process for establishing a political party in Arkansas

In Arkansas, the process to establish a political party is tied to the votes cast in a presidential or gubernatorial election. In order to initially put candidates on the ballot, political parties must submit a petition with 10,000 signatures. Then, in order to maintain that status beyond the election year in which they submit such a petition, their candidate for governor or president must receive at least 3 percent of the votes cast for that office.[29][30]

In 2012, both the Libertarian and Green parties of Arkansas qualified to put candidates on the ballot, but then their candidates did not receive enough votes for the parties to maintain their ballot status. In the fall of 2013, both parties submitted new petitions and were qualified to put candidates on the 2014 ballot.[31][32][33] In order to maintain their status as political parties without needing to petition for the 2016 elections, their candidates for governor had to receive at least 3 percent of the vote. Frank Gilbert (L) earned 1.9 percent of the vote and Josh Drake (G) earned 1.1 percent of the vote.

According to an April 2014 poll, the likelihood of the Libertarian and Green Parties to maintain their status in the state depended on who the Democratic and Republican Parties ran in the gubernatorial election. With nominees Republican Asa Hutchinson and Democrat Mike Ross on the ballot, 3 percent of those polled said they would vote for the Libertarian candidate and 2 percent said they would vote for the Green Party candidate. Had Democrat Lynette Bryant advanced with Hutchinson, those likely to vote for the Libertarian candidate remained the same while those likely to vote for the Green Party candidate rose to 4.5 percent. If Republican Curtis Coleman ran against Ross, those polled were more likely to vote for both the Libertarian and Green Party candidates when compared to a ballot including front-runners Ross and Hutchinson, who secured their respective parties' nominations the month after the poll was taken.[34]

Campaign ads

In Asa Plan, Hutchinson lays out his "New Job's Plan for 2015 & Beyond" - Posted 4/28/14


General election
All candidates

Governor of Arkansas: Four-way race
Poll Asa Hutchinson (R) Mike Ross (D)Joshua Drake (G)Frank Gilbert (L)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Southern Progress Poll
September 7-9, 2014
Gravis Marketing
September 8-11, 2014
Public Policy Polling
September 18-21, 2014
Suffolk/USA Today
September 20-23, 2014
Talk Business & Politics/Hendrix College
October 15-16, 2014
NBC News/Marist
October 24, 2014
Opinion Research Associates, Inc.
October 25-26, 2014
AVERAGES 45% 42% 1.57% 2.36% 9.07% +/-3.66 936
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

**Due to the nature of the comparison, a placeholder figure of 0% is assigned to candidates not included in any given match-up round Hutchinson vs. Ross (April 2014 - present)

Governor of Arkansas: Hutchinson vs. Ross
Poll Asa Hutchinson (R) Mike Ross (D)Don't knowMargin of ErrorSample Size
April 30-May 4, 2014
Rasmussen Reports
May 27-28, 2014
Public Policy Poll
August 1-3, 2014
New York Times/CBS News/YouGov
September 20-October 1, 2014
University of Arkansas
October 21-27, 2014
AVERAGES 47.8% 39.6% 9.8% +/-3.1 1,086
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Hutchinson vs. Ross (February 2014 - April 2014)

Governor of Arkansas: Hutchinson vs. Ross
Poll Asa Hutchinson (R) Mike Ross (D)Don't knowMargin of ErrorSample Size
Talk Business/Hendrix College
February 20, 2013
Talk Business/Hendrix College Poll
October 8, 2013
Public Policy Polling/Americans United for Change
December 13-15, 2013
Rasmussen Reports
February 4-5, 2014
February 10, 2014
March 11-13, 2014
Hendrix College/Talk Business
April 3-4, 2014
Opinion Research Associates
April 1-8, 2014
New York Times/Kaiser Family Foundation Poll
April 8-15, 2014
Public Policy Poll
April 25-27, 2014
AVERAGES 42.4% 40.7% 15.6% +/-3.76 774.9
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to


See also: Arkansas gubernatorial election, 2006

A 2006 campaign ad from unsuccessful Republican candidate Asa Hutchinson

Hutchinson ran against Mike Beebe for the seat being vacated by incumbent Republican governor Mike Huckabee, who was unable to run for a third term as governor due to the state's gubernatorial term limits.

Minor party candidates Rod Bryan (Independent) and Jim Lendall (Green) were also in the race.

In the 2006 contest, Hutchison was outspent by his Democratic rival by a margin of nearly 2-1. Beebe spent $6,304,515, while Hutchison spent $3,247,567.[35]

2006 election for Governor of Arkansas[36]
Candidates Votes Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Mike Beebe (D) 430,765 55.61%
Asa Hutchinson (R) 315,040 40.67%
Rod Bryan (I) 15,767 2.04%
Jim Lendall (Green) 12,744 1.65%
Write Ins 334 0.05%
Total votes 774,680


Hutchinson was appointed undersecretary of border and transportation security for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security by President George W. Bush.


Hutchinson resigned his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2001 following his appointment by President Bush to serve as the Director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.[2]


  • Hutchinson ran for U.S. Congress in 1996, defeating Democratic candidate Ann Henry. Henry, a close political ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton, outspent Hutchinson in the campaign. When his brother decided not to run for re-election to the House in order to seek the open U.S. Senate seat that year caused by the retirement of popular Democrat David Pryor, Hutchinson ran for the seat and won. (His brother also won his campaign for Senate, and served for one term.)
  • Hutchinson was re-elected to the House in 1998 and 2000.


Hutchinson ran, unsuccessfully, for a seat in the United States Senate, representing Arkansas, in 1986.


Hutchinson ran, unsuccessfully, for the post of Attorney General of Arkansas in 1990, when he was 40 years old.


Hutchinson was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to be the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas when he was 31, in 1982.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Asa + Hutchinson + Arkansas + Governor"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Asa Hutchinson News Feed

  • Loading...

See also

External links

2014 Campaign links

Campaign Facebook
Campaign Twitter


  1. The Washington Times, "Republican Asa Hutchinson sworn in as Arkansas governor," January 13, 2015
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The City Wire, "Asa Hutchinson will run for Governor in 2014," January 4, 2013
  3. Website of The Hutchinson Group
  4. 4.0 4.1 The New York Times, "Arkansas Governor Asks Lawmakers to Recall Religious Exception Bill," April 1, 2015
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Governing, "Why Arkansas' Governor Reversed His Stance on the Religious Freedom Bill," April 2, 2015
  6. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  7. Arkansas Online, "Hutchinson signs new religion bill," April 2, 2015
  8. 8.0 8.1 On The Issues, "Asa Hutchinson Vote Match," accessed April 19, 2015
  9. The questions in the quiz are broken down into two sections -- social and economic. In social questions, liberals and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while conservatives and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers. For the economic questions, conservatives and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while liberals and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers.
  10. University of Virginia Center for Politics: Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, "2013-2014 Gubernatorial Races," April 29, 2013
  11. The Washington Post, "The Fix's top gubernatorial races," September 27, 2013
  12. Daily Kos, "Daily Kos Elections gubernatorial race ratings: Initial ratings for 2013-14," October 6, 2013
  13. Governing Politics, "2013-2014 Governor's Races: Who's Vulnerable?," December 12, 2012
  14. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named arkbus
  15. Talk, "Stars aligning for Mike Ross to reconsider running for governor," December 20, 2012
  16., "Governor's race follow up," February 12, 2013
  17. The Associated Press - My San Antonio, "Analysis: Dem. race for Ark. gov. in '14 unsettled," March 24, 2013
  18. 18.0 18.1 Arkansas Business, "Bill Halter Quits Race for Governor to Avoid 'Divisive Primary'," July 29, 2013
  19. The Arkansas Times, "Mike Ross pitches for moderate vote in announcing for governor," April 17, 2013
  20. Arkansas Secretary of State, "2014 Preferential Primary Elections & Non Partisan General Election, Candidate Information: Lynette "Doc" Bryant," accessed March 3, 2014
  21. Times Record, Election 2014: Libertarian Frank Gilbert Announces Bid For Arkansas Governor, October 17, 2013
  22., "Libertarian Party holds annual state convention," February 22, 2014
  23. Independent Political Report, "The Green Party of Arkansas Announces Candidates for Governor and U S Senate," November 23, 2013
  24. 24.0 24.1 The Republic, "Democrat Mike Ross raises $491K in April for Arkansas governor bid, Hutchinson raises $240K," May 13, 2014
  25. Arkansas Online, "2014 Campaign Contributions, Governors Race," accessed May 15, 2014
  26. Arkansas News Bureau, "McDaniel raises $1 million for governor’s race," October 15, 2012
  27. Arkansas Times, "McDaniel admits 'inappropriate interaction' with Hot Springs lawyer," December 18, 2013
  28. Arkansas Times, "McDaniel officially announces he's out of governor's race," January 25, 2013
  29. Arkansas Code, "Title 7, Section 1-101-21," accessed December 3, 2013
  30. Arkansas House Bill 2036, "An Act To Amend the Law Concerning Certain Procedural Dates In Election; To Amend the Law Concerning Certain Petitions; And For Other Purposes," Approved April 18, 2013 (timed out)
  31. Libertarian Party of Arkansas Website, "History of the Libertarian Party of Arkansas," accessed December 5, 2013
  32. Green Party of Arkansas Website, "Ballot Access," accessed December 5, 2013
  33. Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin, "New Political Party Petition--Green Party," November 6, 2013
  34. UALR Public Radio, "Poll: Ross, Hutchinson In Virtual Dead Heat In Governor’s Race," April 6, 2014
  35. Follow The Money, Governor of Arkansas, 2006
  36. 2006 General Election Results
Political offices
Preceded by
Mike Beebe (D)
Governor of Arkansas
Succeeded by