Two Weeks Down, 36 More to Go

There's still a primary awaiting Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson, but you wouldn't know it -- not by the recent (and heavy) back and forth between his campaign and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Mike Ross.  Both have been recent recipients of attack ads from the others governors association (HERE and HERE), and -- most recently -- Ross has taken issue with Hutchinson's stance, or lack there of, on the ongoing  private option debate, accusing his more-than-likely Republican opponent of  dodging the issue.

"If you call Asa today and ask him where he stands on the private option, he will tell you -- or at least what he's told the press up until now -- is he's still studying it," said Ross during a recent interview on the Natural State of Politics podcast. "This was written and passed a year ago, and he's still studying it? Really?"

As one would imagine, when asked about Ross' comments, the Hutchinson camp was quick to respond.

"Congressman Ross needs to remember that we would not be in the situation that we are now had he stopped Obamacare when he had the chance," accused the Hutchinson campaign. "We have one Governor at a time and the last thing the legislature and the Governor need are candidates playing politics on issues. Asa has remained consistent in his opposition to Obamacare."

Both men made their bids official this week by filing their respective candidacy for the state's highest office, and it wasn't long after putting pen to paper inside the capitol before the latest attack emerged.

"Now that Congressman Asa Hutchinson has filed to run for governor of Arkansas, it's important for Arkansans to learn who he really is and his record," said Democratic Party of Arkansas Chair Vincent Insalaco in a press release announcing the launch of the Democratic website,

"Congressman Asa Hutchinson spent more than a decade living and working in Washington, D.C. as a big-spending bureaucrat and a registered D.C. lobbyist - he was even a registered Virginia voter," accuses the website. "In fact, Asa once said he was 'totally disconnected' from Arkansas. Now he wants to be our next governor?"

To which Hutchinson replied: "For Congressman Ross and his Democrat political allies to criticize me for not spending enough time in Arkansas is pretty ridiculous. ... Like many Arkansans, my work for our country's national security meant I had to live out of state for a couple of years, and to attack me for such is truly pathetic."

This specific attack is nothing new for the Republican. Hutchinson's residency was an issue, albeit briefly, in his first gubernatorial campaign, as highlighted in this 2005 article by the Arkansas News Bureau. Aside from its "ridiculous" allegations, Hutchinson is taking issue with another aspect of the website.

"I understand that Congressman Ross and his Democrat political allies will work to attack me personally, but I would hope he would have the decency to join me in asking that the picture of the children used in the attack web site be deleted," said Hutchinson. "Permission was not obtained from the families of the children and to use the image of innocent and non consenting children in a political attack is inappropriate and unacceptable."

The picture has since been replaced, according to Patrick Burgwinkle with the Democratic Party of Arkansas, but he says the picture is nothing but a distraction.

"The picture was downloaded from one of Asa Hutchinson's own campaign websites putting it in the public domain, but it has been replaced," said Burgwinkle. "Congressman Hutchinson is trying to distract Arkansans from his reckless record in Congress when he voted to cut student loan opportunities and voted against Pell Grants, while, at the same time, voting to give tax breaks to big corporations who didn't even need them.  That's bad for Arkansas students and families.  Congressman Hutchinson's time as a registered Washington, D.C., lobbyist is just more proof that he's always been out for himself.  If anything is truly pathetic, it's Asa Hutchinson trying to run from his own record." 

It's safe to assume that neither campaign plans on letting up any time soon, and you can bet the last couple of weeks is just a sign of things to come.

For Asa Hutchinson, that might get a little tricky. After all, he still has a primary to get through.

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