Asa Hutchinson (born December 3, 1950) is a former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, U.S. Congressman from the Third District of Arkansas, Director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the first-ever Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He is currently running for governor of Arkansas.
In January 2005, Hutchinson ended his tenure in the Bush Administration in order to return to his native Arkansas. Hutchinson founded a consulting firm, Hutchinson Group, LLC with partners Betty Guhman and Kirk Tompkins, in Little Rock and accepted a contract for a one year position with the Venable Law Firm in Washington, DC as the chair of its Homeland Security practice. Hutchinson ended his contract with Venable in March 2006 to focus on his campaign for Arkansas Governor and his consulting firm in Little Rock.
Before entering a career in public service, Hutchinson practiced law in Fort Smith, Arkansas, for 21 years and tried over 100 jury trials. It was during this time that he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas. At the age of 31, he was the youngest U.S. Attorney in the nation and made national headlines after successfully prosecuting the CSA (The Covenant, The Sword, and The Arm of the Lord), a white supremacist organization. The CSA forced a three-day armed stand-off with local, state and federal law enforcement. As U.S. Attorney at the time, Hutchinson put on a flak jacket and personally negotiated a peaceful conclusion to the stand-off. In 1984 he prosecuted Roger Clinton, Jr., the brother of then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton on cocaine possession charges.
Hutchinson's first political race (for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Dale Bumpers) ended in defeat in 1986. Four years later, Hutchinson's race against Winston Bryant for Attorney General would also end in defeat. Hutchinson then considered a rematch with Bumpers in 1992 before deferring to Mike Huckabee, who would eventually lose as well. That same year, Hutchinson's brother, Tim Hutchinson, was elected to represent the Northwest quadrant of Arkansas in Congress. In 1996, when his brother decided to give up his seat in the House to run for Senate, Hutchinson successfully seized upon the opportunity to take his brother's place and won the first election of his career. His brother also ended up winning his campaign for Senate and would serve for one term.
Hutchinson was re-elected to the House two more times, and led efforts to crack down on illegal drugs, particularly methamphetamines. Hutchinson also served as one of the managers (prosecutors) during the Senate impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.
After being re-elected to his third term in Congress, Hutchinson was appointed Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). During his tenure at the DEA, Hutchinson led a re-evalution of the DEA's mission and resources, concluding that too many resources were focused on 1980s-era drug enforcement priorities. Hutchinson called greater attention to newly emergent drug threats such as Meth in rural America and Ecstasy among youth.
After the September 11 attacks on America, Congress created the Department of Homeland Security. President Bush tapped Hutchinson to lead the Border and Transportation Security Directorate, the largest division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with more than 110,000 employees. Hutchinson was confirmed by unanimous consent by the U.S. Senate on January 23, 2003.
In January of 2005, Hutchinson announced that he was stepping down from DHS and returning to Arkansas. Shortly after, he announced his intention to run for Governor in the 2006 election. Initial polling has shown mixed outcomes, but the most recent polling by Rasmussen Reports shows Hutchinson trailing Democrat Mike Beebe by 10 points, 38