Hutchinson Says He’s Qualified for Wednesday’s Debate

(Radio Iowa) Republican presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson says former President Donald Trump’s absence from Wednesday’s debate will give the candidates who ARE there a chance to have a serious policy discussion.

“There’s a lot of differences there — differences in approach to Ukraine, differences in approach to China, differences in approach to spending,” Hutchinson says, “so that’s going to be an important date.” Trump is skipping the debate and the New York Times reports he’ll be interviewed by former Fox News host Tucker Carlson instead. Hutchinson, a former Arkansas governor, spent five days campaigning at the Iowa State Fair and he spoke at the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox this weekend as the heat index topped 100 degrees.

“I believe after talking to Iowans all up and down here that you’re going to be the first state that moves away from Donald Trump,” Hutchinson said, and some in the crowd of about three dozen cheered. Hutchinson says Trump so far has been the default position for most Republicans.

“I was for Trump in 2020 and 2016,” Hutchinson said, “…and so it takes a little while for Iowans to figure out where they’re going and that’s why that debate is important.” Hutchinson announced Sunday morning he’d qualified for this week’s debate in Milwaukee, after over 40-thousand donors contributed to his campaign. He had already registered with at least one percent support in a few polls, the other criteria for debate participation. Ten candidates have said they met the benchmarks for the debate, but the Republican National Committee has not confirmed the debate lineup.