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story.lead_photo.caption Governor Asa Hutchinson talks with supporters Tommy Mitchum (left) of Batesville, Vicki Kellar of Little Rock and John Yarbrough (right) of Ward on Tuesday night as he greets supporters at a watch party in Little Rock. - Photo by Staton Breidenthal

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.

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  • mozarky2
    May 22, 2018 at 8:28 p.m.

    Over twice the votes in the 'pubbie's primary than the dim's. But, wasting money is what dims do best.

  • HM2
    May 22, 2018 at 8:28 p.m.

    I guess people didn't pay attention to his backing of the grocery tax hike.

  • wolfman
    May 22, 2018 at 8:31 p.m.

    I guess the nra didn’t help ms Morgan. God bless her. I predict she will get a spot on Fox News now. At least some republicans had some sense and voted for asa

  • RBBrittain
    May 23, 2018 at 2:02 a.m.

    Fake news, HM2, unless you're talking about removing soda and candy from the grocery tax rate (happened January 1 as part of Asa's 2017 package to pay for military retiree exemptions). Some GOP legislators wanted to roll back a scheduled July 1 reduction in the grocery tax rate to pay for more tax breaks for the rich, but Asa shot that down.

  • JeffWillis
    May 24, 2018 at 1:12 p.m.

    Tough to win a race when the incumbent isn't required to debate. This would be a welcomed change! Why would Asa not want to debate? Possibly because he was afraid that his opponent might gain significantly! Which Jan would have! Anyone on top wants to stay on top! Arkansas is a state in rapid transition. The Democrat party is going the way of the dinosaurs! It is now a battle between "Constitutional Republicans"(Jan Morgan), and "Neo-Con Republicans(Asa Hutchinson)." Clearly, Asa did want to chance Arkansans being allowed to make the distinction; which they would have had the debate taken place!