Presidential Hopeful Booed at Campaign Event

( – A Republican presidential candidate spoke at a conservative event last weekend — and got an unwelcome surprise. Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson was planning to whip up support for himself in next year’s GOP primaries. Instead, he sparked a show of loyalty to front-runner Donald Trump.

On July 15, Hutchinson, whose political career began when he was elected to the House in 1996, spoke at the Turning Point Action Conference in West Palm Beach, Florida. Hutchinson is positioning himself as a moderate Republican in the hope of winning over centrist voters, and he tried to put his ideas across at the conference. However, that wasn’t what the conservative audience wanted to hear.

Instead of applause, Hutchinson found himself being jeered by the crowd. As he tried to explain his policies during the pandemic, the venue erupted with chants of “Trump! Trump! Trump!” It was a strong reminder of Trump’s commanding lead in the race for next year’s GOP nomination. Right now, according to a Premise poll, the former president is backed by 63% of Republicans, with his nearest rival — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis — trailing far behind at 28%. Hutchinson’s support barely registers at all. In fact, he’s #3 on the list of candidates Republicans don’t want to face Biden next November.

Hutchinson himself claims he got booed because Trump has a “stranglehold” on “a certain element” of the Republican Party. It’s true that Turning Point USA, which organized the conference, backs Trump for the 2024 nomination and that the former president got a warm welcome when he addressed the conference on the same day as Hutchinson — but it isn’t just Turning Point supporters that are left cold by Hutchinson’s lukewarm conservatism. Only one poll puts his support among voters as high as 2%; all the rest show him at 1% or less. Thanks to Trump’s huge lead,  the contest for next year’s Republican nomination is just barely clinging on to being a two-horse race. Hutchinson isn’t one of them.        

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