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Arkansas GOP governor will make 2024 presidential decision ‘the first part of next year’

By Sarah Fortinsky and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he will decide in “the first part of next year” if he wants to mount a campaign for president in 2024.

“The fact that President [Donald] Trump has already announced accelerates everyone’s time frame,” Hutchinson told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “So the first quarter of next year, you either need to be in or out. And, of course, an important factor is not what President Trump is doing necessarily, but what’s the level of support out there, and that’s important to know.”

“And so we’ve got some work to do, but I expect a decision to be made the first part of next year,” he added.

Hutchinson, who is leaving the governor’s office next month after two terms, told CNN last month he was “very seriously” considering a 2024 presidential campaign. His comments come amid speculation about who — if anyone — will challenge former President Donald Trump, who formally announced his third White House bid last month.

Trump’s campaign launch and his ability to lead the GOP has been met with internal strife and criticism following the losses of several Trump-endorsed election deniers during the midterm elections. Several notable Republicans — including former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — are said to be weighing challenges to Trump for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.

“Absolutely. I’m looking at it — looking at it very seriously,” Hutchinson told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins last month. “After the midterm elections, it’s more intense, and it’s an accelerated review, and after going to Iowa, I’m encouraged that a governor who’s actually solved problems, who has a conservative commonsense approach, can draw support and can be a good alternative. So, I’m encouraged by it.”

On Sunday, Hutchinson criticized House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy‘s ability to control his conference and previewed his own leadership style and campaign approach if he were to run for president.

“We have a diverse party, and you have to embrace the diversity,” Hutchinson said when asked about the difficulties McCarthy faces in needing to get the support of nearly all House Republicans to become speaker, given the party’s narrow majority next Congress.

“But at the same time, you know, if you’re not going to operate as a team on certain fundamental levels, like being able to elect the leader of our party in the House, then we’re failing the American people. So we have to come together so we can then get the important work done,” the governor told “Meet the Press.”

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