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Governor wins Arkansas GOP primary for 2nd term

Asa Hutchinson (Photo courtesy: Asa for Governor Facebook page)

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has won the Republican primary in his re-election bid, defeating a gun rights advocate and cable news commentator who declared her gun range "Muslim-free."

Hutchinson defeated Jan Morgan in the state's GOP primary on Tuesday. Hutchinson, who was first elected in 2014, will face the winner of Tuesday's Democratic gubernatorial primary and Libertarian nominee Mark West in the November election.

Hutchinson, a former congressman and federal Homeland Security official, had dwarfed Morgan in fundraising and was generally popular in the predominantly Republican state. Hutchinson had touted $150 million in tax cuts he'd successfully pushed through the Legislature and had proposed an $180 million cut for the state's top earners.

Morgan, whose focus on the campaign trail was cutting government spending, had said in earlier interviews with KATV that she would not endorse Hutchinson if he beat her in the primary.

Before early voting began, a Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College Poll of 676 GOP voters put Hutchinson with 57.5% support compared to Morgan’s 30.5%. Twelve percent were undecided.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement congratulating Hutchinson on his preliminary election win: “Tonight, Republican voters across the state sent a clear message and nominated my good friend, Governor Asa Hutchinson, to run for a second term. Governor Hutchinson has proven for nearly four years that he has the leadership, values, and temperament Arkansas needs, and I am fully confident voters will re-elect him this November. It has been an honor to work with the Governor on issues vital to Arkansas, such as tackling the opioid epidemic, defending his decision to defund Planned Parenthood, and rolling back regulations that hurt job creators. His focus on lowering taxes and creating a better business climate has led to Arkansas’s lowest unemployment rate in recorded history. I look forward to continuing our close partnership to keep Arkansas moving forward.”

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