Updated Sep 25, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Asa Hutchinson to miss second Republican presidential primary debate

Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson during a Labor Day picnic in Salem, New Hampshire, earlier this month. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson failed to qualify for the second Republican presidential debate this week, but the seven other GOP 2024 candidates who attended the first one will appear onstage in California on Wednesday.

Driving the news: The Republican National Committee announced Monday that it had invited to the debate in Simi Valley: former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

Of note: Republican presidential front-runner former President Trump, who skipped the previous debate and announced he didn't plan to attend the second one, is not listed as being among the candidates to have met the RNC's criteria for qualifying.

What they're saying: Hutchinson said in an online post that despite "falling short of the RNC's polling requirement" for the California debate, he'll continue to campaign and that he entered the race because it's "critically important" for a Republican leader to "stand up" to Trump and "call him out on misleading his supporters" and the American people.

  • "I understand that the RNC and the media are trying to reduce the number of candidates, but I measure success based on the response I receive in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire," he said.
  • "My goal is to increase my polling numbers to 4% in an early state before Thanksgiving. If that goal is met, then I remain competitive and in contention for either Caucus Day or Primary Day."

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Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

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