Jan Morgan jumped into the Arkansas governor’s race on New Year’s Eve and threatened to be a disruptive force in the GOP primary.
For incumbent Gov. Asa Hutchinson, she’s had that effect by traveling the state accusing the governor of not being conservative enough and allowing state government to grow too much under his leadership.
The governor has countered he was conservative when conservative wasn’t cool in Arkansas, while offering up his record on strong job growth, rising incomes, and initiatives to utilize more technology to shrink and improve government services delivery.
The winner of the Republican primary between Morgan and Hutchinson will face the winner of the Democratic primary, which pits Jared Henderson versus Leticia Sanders. Libertarian Mark West will be on the November general election ballot.
Since the beginning of 2018, Morgan, a Hot Springs gun range owner and former investigative TV reporter has been hitting the campaign trail criss-crossing the state from Paragould to Warren to Mt. Ida to Rogers.
Born in Lone Star, Texas, a tiny town in northeast Texas that boasts a population today of a little over 1,500, Morgan was raised by her now-retired parents. Her mother was a school teacher and her father was an inventory analyst with TNN Warehouse. She has one sister and a 24-year old daughter who is studying nursing.
After a career in television media (she has appeared as a regular panelist on Fox News), Morgan and her husband now own a gun range in Hot Springs. The Second Amendment proponent famously declared a few years ago that the gun range would be “Muslim-free,” but Morgan says there’s more to her and her candidacy than gun rights even though her insurgent bid for governor was thrusted by a blistering speech on gun freedom at the Arkansas legislature in 2017.
In a lengthy interview with Talk Business & Politics’ Roby Brock, Morgan shared her upbringing and early career, offered her thoughts on last weekend’s youth marches for gun restrictions, and discussed her general positions on tax cuts and state government downsizing.
A few highlights include:
On the March for Our Lives movement: “It was exciting to me and I love to see the fact that young people are finally engaged and passionate about something besides Xbox… I don’t like their message, particularly, but they’re young and I think this will be a learning experience for them and I would love to have a chance to sit down with those kids and talk to them about the history of gun control. The sad thing is, they’re being exploited by the far left, anti-gun movement.”
On eliminating corporate income taxes: “Well, maybe not eliminate them entirely, but certainly look at reducing the corporate income tax… I’m not going to get into specifics. I’m going to do as much as I can, as quickly as I can without doing anything too dramatic. I mean, this takes, this is going to take some time. You can’t just yank the carpet. I want to do some cutting in state income tax too. I want to do some cutting in the property tax.”
On state government spending: “I feel that we do not have a revenue problem in this state, we have a spending problem in this state and our current governor has had plenty of opportunity to reduce spending and instead, he has increased spending every single year that he has been in office.”
On identifying a dollar amount of waste, fraud and abuse in state government: “I’m not going to put a number on it… I just tell you that people in this state are looking for common sense fiscal leadership. [Lt. Gov.] Tim Griffin and I are fiscal conservatives. Tim Griffin and I will work together. I will pull him out of the attic that the governor has put him in because Tim’s agenda is the people’s agenda. He’s more in line with the message that the people of this state sent when they elected Donald Trump. And so is Jan Morgan. Tim Griffin and I will be a double dose of fiscal conservatism that this state has never seen before and we will turn this state around financially.“
Watch the full interview below.