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Arkansas GOP governor says he is considering a bid in 2024 and will run even if Trump does

“You have to get through this year, of course. But it’s an option that’s on the table,” Hutchinson, who is limited in time as governor, told CNN’s Dana Bash about “State of the Union” when asked if he was considering seriously to run 2024.

Pressured by Bash on whether he would still consider running if Trump decides to seek the GOP nomination in 2024, Hutchinson said the former president’s candidacy “is not a factor in my decision-making process.”

“I have made it clear: I think we should have a different direction in the future,” he added. “I think he did many good things for our country, but we have to go in a different direction.”

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Hutchinson also targeted another possible GOP presidential candidate in 2024 on Saturday. He said he disagrees with Florida’s recent law, which was enacted by Gov. Ron DeSantis and which effectively punishes Disney for opposing LGBTQ restrictions passed in the state.

“I do not think the government should punish private companies because we disagree with them,” Hutchinson said. “To me, that’s the old Republican principle of having controlled government.”

The Arkansas governor, however, said he felt Disney “handled this very badly,” adding that he shared DeSantis’ belief that sexual orientation should not be taught “in the lower classes” of the school.

Hutchinson told Bash last year that he would not support Trump if he decided to run in 2024 – a departure from his previous support for Trump’s 2020 re-election bid.

At the time, the governor said that although Trump would continue to have a vote in the Republican Party, the former president should “not define our future,” adding that the party needs to “respond and identify with the issues that which gave him the first election and gave him support throughout his presidency. ”

Hutchinson was first elected governor in 2014, serving in the U.S. House from 1997 to 2001, and he has become known as someone who occasionally nods the GOP, while also nodding to his party’s base on certain issues.

Earlier this year, he urged large companies in his state not to comply with the Biden administration’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate, saying employers should not follow the “repressive” rule a few hours before it should take effect in part.
Last August, as the highly contagious Delta variant of coronavirus swept through the United States, the governor said he regretted approving a state-wide ban on face mask mandates.
And in April 2021, Hutchinson received praise from LGBTQ advocates after vetoing a transgender health care law banning state physicians from providing gender-confirming “procedures” for transgender people under 18 years of age. However, the bill later became law. after state legislators violated the veto.

CNN’s Andi Babineau and Chandelis Duster contributed to this report.

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