Hutchinson gets GOP nod for governor

Posted: May 20, 2014 at 7:49 p.m.
Updated: May 20, 2014 at 11:49 p.m.

In this photo taken Thursday, May 8, 2014, Republican hopeful in the race for Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson is interviewed in Little Rock.

Asa Hutchinson wins GOP nod for governor's race

Asa Hutchinson has won the Republican nomination for governor, defeating businessman Curtis Coleman. (By Lisa Burnett)
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Asa Hutchinson has won the Republican nomination for governor, defeating businessman Curtis Coleman.

With 1,097 of 2,459 precincts reporting at 9:52 p.m., Hutchinson led Coleman 77,112 to 30,244, or 72% to 28%, according to unofficial results. The Associated Press called the race for Hutchinson at 7:48 p.m.

Hutchinson addressed his supporters shortly after 9 p.m., announcing Coleman had conceded in a phone call and that he was turning his attention to the general election race against Democratic nominee Mike Ross.

Hutchinson congratulated Ross on his win before saying he wanted to "outline" the differences between the two gubernatorial candidates in a series of debates. He called Ross a "Nancy Pelosi protege."

"And I have served in the administration of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush," Hutchinson said in a speech broadcast live on local television. "... We need a governor who will stand up for Arkansas."

Hutchinson represented Arkansas' 3rd Congressional District from 1997 to 2001 and later served as the administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and a Homeland Security undersecretary.

He was also his party's nominee for governor in 2006, losing to Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe. Beebe is term-limited after winning that race and reelection in 2010.

Hutchinson is running on a platform that includes a gradual reduction of the state's income taxes and the addition of a computer science curriculum to all of the state's high schools.

Coleman, the founding chief executive officer of Safe Foods Corp. who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2010, knocked Hutchinson for being a Washington, D.C., insider and criticized his endorsement of Eric Holder for U.S. attorney general.

Read tomorrow's Arkanas Democrat-Gazette for more on this story.