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Republican state Sen. Trent Garner will not seek re-election

January 11, 2022 GMT

EL DORADO, Ark. (AP) — Conservative Republican state Sen. Trent Garner of El Dorado will not seek re-election.

“It is time for me to serve the people of south Arkansas in a different role,” Garner said in a statement on Twitter. “I plan on focusing on building my legal practice and bringing conservative leadership to the judiciary.”

Garner often clashed with Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, calling him a relic of the past and criticizing the governor over mask mandates.

Garner sponsored a law, later ruled unconstitutional, that would ban mask mandates. Hutchinson signed the ban into law, but later said he regretted doing so and that he agreed with the ruling overturning it.

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“I’ve seen firsthand from Gov. Hutchinson, a career politician who has spent a decade in office, how those who stay in office too long end up violating conservative principles for power,” Garner said in his statement.

Garner wrote that leaders like former President Donald Trump are needed.

Hutchinson, in a statement to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, said he believes Garner will enjoy himself and wishes him well.

Garner said he supports Republican candidate Matt Stone, Garner’s father-in-law, to replace him in the Senate.