Governor catches a ‘right wing firebrand’ as a GOP primary foe
It is really not news that the ‘far-right’ and more conservative members of the Republican Party were upset with Gov. Asa Hutchison, his politics and his service as the state’s chief executive.
What is surprising is that such a wild candidate – on such a narrow issue – gun control is now attacking the state’s chief executive.
If you have not heard of her, Jan Morgan, the Hot Springs’ gun range owner in central Arkansas, you will soon.
She is like an ear-splitting staccato of thunder of a rapid fire clip of a .357 magnum. No, make that an even louder cannon-like retort of a .44 caliber handgun.
She always manages to deliver up a stream of verbal venom, spewed at all who do not agree wholeheartedly with her viewpoints.
And if you are a member of the media or in political office, the “spray” of her criticism and the thunder of the gunfire simply increase.
With the 2018 re-election cycle coming to life, it was inevitable that Gov. Asa Hutchison would have some sort of interparty primary and then, possibly a general election challenge from the state’s Democrats, the Libertarians or perhaps a hapless Green Party candidate.
Democrats have been “mum” on who they will offer up, if anyone, to challenge Hutchinson’s re-election. It seems the Hutchinson poll numbers show the recent transformation of Arkansas over the last three election cycles have all but guaranteed a statewide GOP victor.
The more conservative wing of the Republican Party, with some of its own members sitting in the state’s constitutional offices and on the Supreme Court bench (although hidden behind the judicial curtain of non-partisan), could be a factor in Hutchinson’s secondterm try. And several seem in cahoots on Morgan’s run at an internal party fistfight.
But, let us get back to what we know as of this scribbling.
Jan Morgan is a non-traditional Republican. She announced her formation of an exploratory committee, not on the state Capitol steps, not at a state Park or well-known Arkansas landmark, but on the Lou Dobbs Show on Fox TV.
She is aligned with the far right Conduit for Action (which has a thick, if not commanding presence in Northwest Arkansas). She has a reputation for being rapid fire in what she wants to say and later cannot for the life of her remember what she just said. Sound familiar?
Now the immediate naysayers will spout that “Asa has been a good governor. He has the poll numbers, so don’t worry.”
But he will worry.
As he well should. Could the ‘fire-brand’ candidate damage his base? Absolutely.
Could she actually help the other candidates – Green, Libertarian and oh, my, even a weak-sister Democrat in the General Election, after Asa manages to thwart her efforts in a bloody in-state primary? Yes, she could.
Does that bother a candidate like Ms. Morgan? Absolutely not.
Her running is not about doing a good job as governor. It is not about trying to represent the people of the state. It is about the same mantra the far right is loudly singing against Asa Hutchinson on the eve of the 2018 political season.
The far right wants government subsidized Health Care, in any form, to go away.
The far right wants tax relief. For whom we do not know. For the rich? Probably. For the Middle-Class? They always say, “Yes,” but never complete that promise.
The far right want the “laws of the nation,” upheld when it comes to immigration.
And the far right says Asa has been ‘weak’ in that he didn’t sign an antiSharia law bill.
She says after both the state House and the state Senate are Republican controlled and four years of a Republican Governor with a GOP base of legislators that our state is moving too slowly and in the wrong direction to suit the far right.
I once predicted that Ms. Morgan would fizzle out.
But of late, she has hired a GOP strategist.
And her gunfire-like vitriol at Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s performance continues.
— Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed are those of the author.