by Conduit for Action
State Senator Jim Hendren (Gravette) plans to run for reelection to the Senate.[i] This time he is running as an independent candidate instead of as a Republican. Even with the likelihood of lots of campaign funds from liberal interests, the race looks to be his last hurrah. Insiders are asking why bother? What is the advantage of being third in a conservative district? Does he think he can get enough Republican votes to get a Democrat elected?
Not long-ago things were going Hendren’s way as he rode the coattails of his uncle, Governor Asa Hutchinson. Then Hendren announced he would be a candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor. Despite his uncle’s influence, with his RINO voting record no Republicans took him seriously and nobody gave him a chance of being competitive in a Republican primary. Why? Because as Republican he had one of the most liberal voting records in the legislature among Republicans and a more liberal record than some Democrats.
Since no one would play his gubernatorial game, he left the Republican Party, declared himself an independent, aligned himself with the liberal funded group Common Ground, and is working against supposed Republican extremists or Trump Republicans. Actually, what he has been doing is the same thing he has done for years: “fight against the platform and principles of the Republican Party of Arkansas and siding with Democrats.”
Hendren is still a Democrat in Disguise, but since he left the Republican Party, you can no longer call him a RINO.
Senator Jim Hendren may have already scored his only victory of the campaign season just by announcing he plans to seek reelection. His sister, Representative Gayla H. McKenzie (R), has been mentioned as a possible Senate candidate from that district. She has a solid conservative voting record and is known for her willingness to take on legislative leadership when they are wrong. With Jim running for reelection, it seems less likely McKenzie will run for the Senate seat. That is a shame.
Is Hendren running just to try to keep others from running? Were bureaucrats and businesspeople no longer paying attention to him, and running is his way to try to get them to notice him again? Has he fooled himself into thinking Democrats will vote for him instead of their own candidate? Does he think Republicans in the district now want to make his sharp turn to the left? Is he running as a spoiler, trying to take away enough votes to get a Democrat elected in a three-way race?
Jim Hendren’s political tailspin has been hard to watch. Yet, we will be glad for a Republican candidate to be elected to represent the district after years of neglect.