Asa Hutchinson has secured the Republican nomination for re-election as Arkansas' governor, fending off a challenge from a Hot Springs gun range owner who criticized his conservative credentials.
The Associated Press called the race at 8:16 p.m. At that time, unofficial results showed Hutchinson with 45,023 votes and Jan Morgan with 17,272 votes, with 2.7 percent of the vote said to be in.
In his speech Tuesday night, Hutchinson noted that the race hasn’t just been about being a candidate for governor.
“This race has also been about the soul of the Republican Party, and I am very pleased that the Republican voters of Arkansas chose hope and optimism for our future.”
He will face former Teach for America executive Jared Henderson in November. Henderson defeated Leticia Sanders on Tuesday night to win the Democratic nomination.
Morgan, the owner of the Gun Cave shooting range in Hot Springs and a former television reporter and news anchor, previously called Hutchinson “a big government, tax-and-spend, establishment progressive.”
Hutchinson, who was first elected in 2014, called that assessment "comical" and pointed to accomplishments that included income tax cuts and a reduction in the number of state workers during his first term. He is a former federal Homeland Security undersecretary and head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
In 2014, Morgan drew national media attention by declaring her gun range a “Muslim Free Zone.”
Read Wednesday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.
Arkansas Online reporter Brandon Riddle contributed to this report.