Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Hutch Made It

At practically the last minute, former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson has qualified to be at the debate on Wednesday. He met the polling requirements and has 42,000 individual donors. Had he not qualified, it would have been curtains for him. He is the 10th candidate to qualify, but only nine will be on stage, since Donald Trump is not coming (see above).

Hutchinson, a bitter opponent of Trump, signed the pledge to support the party's nominee, but said he does not expect it will be Trump. He also noted that he is not sure that Trump is even eligible to be president on account of the Fourteenth Amendment. If Trump is the nominee, he is not going to get much help from Hutchinson, pledge or no pledge. Hutchinson might say: "I told my wife I support the nominee. The document didn't require me to tell anyone else and I am not going to."

At the debate, Hutchinson and Chris Christie are de facto going to team up taking turns at taking down Trump. Christie is by nature very aggressive, but having Hutchinson as his sidekick might help a bit, especially if most of the others are pro-Trump. We have repeatedly written that people like Vivek Ramaswamy and Nikki Haley are wasting their time running (although Haley would probably accept the #2 slot if offered). While Hutchinson is polling just over 1%, we are less inclined to write off a friendly white guy who was once governor of Arkansas. Lightning has struck there before. His real hope is that Trump has been convicted of one or more felonies by next July, Ronna Romney McDaniel frees all the bound delegates, and in a brokered convention, Hutchinson emerges as a compromise candidate who is also the most electable of the bunch. It is the longest of long shots, but at least conceivable. (V)

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