HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Republican presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson addressed a group of Republicans gathered in Pennsylvania on Wednesday morning as he looks to gain support while sitting in the single digits of national polls.
“You just can’t say here at this point that we ought to all salute and coronate Donald Trump as our nominee,” said Hutchinson, a former Governor of Arkansas. “I’m here because Pennsylvania’s important.”
Hutchinson says he expects to be on the next presidential debate stage on September 27. According to the New York Times, Hutchinson has yet to qualify, while currently, six candidates have met the requirements: Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, Chris Christie, and Tim Scott.
To make the debate stage, each candidate must have at least 50,000 campaign donors (at least 200 from 20 states or territories) and meet a polling requirement.
“You’re going to see the dynamics change over this late fall and early winter,” said Hutchinson.
Jeffrey Lord, a political columnist, says many of the people on the stage are running for something other than president.
“They didn’t want to admit it, but I think they’re running for vice president or a cabinet slot,” said Lord.
Hutchinson insists he’s not one of those candidates, and says this primary is about the direction and soul of the Republican Party.
“Donald Trump, whether you love him or not, you know, he brings controversy,” said Hutchinson. “He brings chaos. And that’s not the path to victory.”
Trump still faces several trials that may begin prior to voters casting their ballots, or a potential campaign trail stumble.
“And then it’s anybody’s game, whether Asa Hutchinson or Chris Christie or Nikki Haley can take advantage of it, that still remains to be seen,” said Republican consultant Christopher Nicholas.
Hutchinson was not the only Republican candidate speaking at the event. Dave McCormick, who finished second in the 2022 U.S. Senate primary, was on hand but declined to speak on camera. Sources tell abc27 McCormick is expected to launch a second bid for the Senate in the next few weeks.
If nominated in next spring’s election, McCormick would face incumbent Democratic Senator Bob Casey.