Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson Declares His Support for Ranked Choice Voting

Photo By: Gage Skidmore / Flickr


In a recent episode of The Purple Principle, a podcast that examines democracy and polarization from a nonpartisan lens, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said that while he was skeptical of ranked choice voting at first, he now sees it as a meaningful solution to elect candidates with the broadest appeal.

"I resisted ranked choice and different initiatives that would weaken the two political parties," he said. "Now I don't see it as weakening the parties as much as forcing the candidates to say, 'We've got to appeal to a broad swath of the American electorate."

Many voters may not know or remember that Hutchinson ran for the GOP presidential nomination in the 2024 cycle. His candidacy flew under the radar as the media covered Trump's legal issues or other candidates subject to controversy for their own reasons, like Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Whatever the media thought was best for ratings.

Hutchinson had one of the larger political resumes among the field of a dozen Republicans who ran for their party's nomination:

He served in Congress for a brief period from 1997 to 2001. He was the head of the DEA under President George W. Bush, served as undersecretary of Homeland Security for Border and Transporation Security, and, of course, he was governor of Arkansas.

To many, Hutchinson represents part of the political establishment that has long rejected innovative nonpartisan solutions to improve choice, competition, and accountability in elections -- while also ensuring that the equal voting rights of all citizens are respected. 

However, Hutchinson joins other established politicians like Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and US Senators Mitt Romney and Joe Manchin in supporting nonpartisan electoral reform. All three say they have always supported the idea of RCV or changed their mind like Hutchinson. 

Hutchinson is also part of a growing list of Republicans who recognize that RCV does not inherently benefit one party or the other. These elections can strengthen Republicans, Democrats, and/or candidates outside the two major parties depending on where the elections are held.

This makes RCV a truly nonpartisan solution.

Watch Hutchinson speak on RCV above. The full episode of The Purple Principle with Asa Hutchinson can be watched here

Asa Hutchinson
Image reference
Photo by Gage Skidmore / Flickr. Creative commons license.