Asa Hutchinson "fully expects" to run for governor in 2014

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -- Asa Hutchinson is taking another shot at Arkansas' top office.

The former Congressman confirmed to Channel 7 he plans to run for Arkansas governor in 2014.

Hutchinson is the first Republican to officially join the race, following Democrat Dustin McDaniel and{}

Republican Curtis Coleman filed papers Wednesday to explore a run for the state's top office.

"You have to file if you're going to be an exploratory candidate," Hutchinson said. "But this is not exploring. I'm making it clear that I intend to run in 2014."

In an interview with Channel 7, Hutchinson talked about the differences between the upcoming race and his run for governor in 2006, in which he lost to Mike Beebe.

With new Republican leadership in the state House, Republican majority for the first time, our state has moved dramatically," Hutchinson said. "So I haven't changed but I think the politics of Arkansas has dramatically changed."

But Democratic Party of Arkansas spokesperson Candace Martin said in a statement to Channel 7:{}

Arkansans already determined that Asa Hutchinson was not gubernatorial material in 2006. Time hasn't changed the fact that Asa failed in securing our borders as the director of the Department of Homeland Security before going to work as a D.C. lobbyist. Arkansans deserve leadership that produces results, and Asa has shown time and time again that he doesn't have what it takes."

McDaniel, currently the state's Attorney General, said of the news, "I am excited about sharing my vision for education, infrastructure and economic development with my fellow Arkansans over the next 22 months. I expect a hard fought campaign regardless of who the Republican nominee is."

Channel 7 also reached out to the Republican Party of Arkansas but have not heard back.

Hutchinson is currently involved on a National Rifle Association study on school safety, and said he will continue to focus on that commitment for at least the next few months.

Hutchinson is a former undersecretary of the federal Department of Homeland Security and served as a U.S. attorney in Arkansas for three years. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006, losing to Democrat Mike Beebe.

According to the Secretary of State's office, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has filed paperwork to raise money as a democratic candidate. As of October, he had raised $1 million. McDaniel's potential success has been called into question after admitting to an extramarital affair.

Curtis Coleman has filed paperwork to form an exploratory committee. Congressman Mike Ross has openly said he does not intend to run in 2014.