Former Third District Congressman Asa Hutchinson, who has previously said he would seek the GOP nomination for Governor in 2014, made it official today via Twitter. He also reported raising $350,000 in his first quarterly report.

“I have completed my report on school safety as Dir, Nat School Shield Task Force, and formally declare my candidacy for Gov 2014…” Hutchinson said from his Twitter account.

In an accompanying press release, Hutchinson said he raised more than $350,000 in the first quarter and would report a cash balance of $346,600 as of March 31, 2013.

“In January I publicly stated that I would be a candidate for Governor in 2014. Today, I make that candidacy official and will formally begin the campaign with active efforts in raising funds and appearances across the state.

“It was essential that I complete the national study and report on school safety, which was significantly shaped by the comments of Arkansas educators received during the last 3 months. The report was released last week and now I am free to devote myself to the necessary fundraising efforts and looking to Arkansas’ future including the economic development challenges facing our state.

“As the campaign proceeds I will focus on tax reform, quality of education, supporting our state agriculture and broad based economic development.”

Many consider Hutchinson the frontrunner for the GOP nomination and in the general election. A Talk Business-Hendrix College Poll taken in February showed Asa with leads over Democrats Bill Halter and Mike Ross.

Halter, a former Lt. Governor, has already declared for Governor and reported raising $1 million in the first quarter with $640,000 coming from a personal loan. Ross, a former Fourth District Congressman, is expected to announce next Wednesday that he’ll enter the Governor’s race.

Curtis Coleman, a 2010 U.S. Senate candidate, has also announced that he’ll challenge Hutchinson in the Republican primary.

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Talk Business Staff