Republican National Committee Chief Touts Hutchinson

April 1, 2006 - Posted at 12:42 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK (AP) _ The Republican National Committee chairman

has pledged support for G-O-P gubernatorial candidate Asa

Hutchinson, but stopped short of making a specific financial


Hutchinson trails Democratic candidate Mike Beebe in

fund-raising efforts.

R-N-C Chairman Ken Mehlman attended Republican fund-raisers last

night and, earlier in the day, addressed a luncheon gathering of

the state Republican Black Caucus.

Mehlman says Republicans are excited about Hutchinson's race.

But he says he expects a close vote.

State Democratic Party Chairman Jason Willett says Mehlman's

visit highlight's Hutchinson's ties to Washington. Hutchinson is a

former congressman and held positions in the Bush administration.

Beebe is state attorney general and was a longtime legislator.

Mehlman says he plans to return to Arkansas to campaign for

Hutchinson and help raise funds for the party.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)