‘I Should Reevaluate’: Asa Hutchinson Weighs Presidential Campaign After Not Making Second Debate Stage

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who didn’t qualify for the second Republican primary debate, said Wednesday evening that he will “reevaluate” his presidential campaign in November if he cannot meet the polling requirement for the next debate.

Hutchinson was the only 2024 GOP presidential candidate who appeared at the first debate on Aug. 23, but failed to surpass the Republican National Committee’s (RNC’s) upped criteria to participate Wednesday night at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. The former governor told NBC News’ Jillian Frankel that he will weigh his candidacy if he can’t surpass the RNC’s increased 4% polling threshold for the third debate on Nov. 8.

“Former Arkansas Governor and GOP presidential hopeful [Asa Hutchinson] told me in a phone call today: ‘If I can’t be at 4% in a national or early state poll by Thanksgiving, then I should reevaluate the campaign,'” Frankel wrote on Twitter. (RELATED: GOP Tells Asa Hutchinson To Take A Hike After He Balks At Pledge To Support Eventual Nominee: REPORT)

The RNC released its list of participants for the second debate on Monday night, and Hutchinson said he didn’t exceed the polling criteria. Candidates had to have garnered at least 3% support in two national polls, or 3% in one national and in two key early primary state polls — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina.

Surveys had to be recognized by the RNC by polling at least 800 likely GOP primary voters, been conducted after Aug. 1 and not be affiliated with any presidential candidate. GOP hopefuls also had to surpass a 50,000 unique donor threshold, increased by 10,000 from the first debate, and had to have signed the loyalty pledge to support the eventual nominee.

The RealClearPolitics average for a 2024 national Republican primary, based on polls conducted between Sept. 13 and Sept. 26, indicates Hutchinson has 0.6% support. Hutchinson received 0.3% Iowa, 0.8% in New Hampshire, 1% in South Carolina and 0% support in Nevada, according to the RCP’s average from the most recent polling.

“Despite falling short of the RNC’s polling requirement for inclusion in the second Presidential Primary Debate, I will continue our campaign to bring out the best of America with events scheduled in Iowa, New Hampshire, and across the country in the next several weeks,” Hutchinson wrote Monday. “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.”

For the third date in Miami, Florida, the RNC increased the donor requirement to 70,000 unique contributors and the polling threshold to 4% in two national polls, or 4% in one national poll and in two key early primary state surveys, which have to be conducted on or after Sept. 1.

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