The “Gun Goddess,” as she’s called, is upset because Doyle Webb, the state Republican Party chairman, hasn’t disguised very well his obvious favoritism for Gov. Asa Hutchinson in the Republican gubernatorial primary.
Under party rules, the state chairman is supposed to pretend that he is not all-in for the establishment governor over the fiery insurgent, Jan Morgan.
She’s the Muslim-banning shooting-range owner and gun-totin’ firebrand from Hot Springs who says she’s on ISIS’ hit list and that Hutchinson is a softy moderate.
I’ve called Morgan a blend of Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent and Tommy Robinson. She’s the Roy Moore-Steve Bannon of Arkansas. You can find photographs of her online arrayed in sophisticated firearms.
She used to work in TV in west Texas and does a lot of speaking and some Fox News pro-gun commentary. So she’s a good talker, although I say that without ever having talked to her myself. That’s even though she promised by email once to give me an interview the next day, and didn’t, and then asked me publicly on Twitter to call her just the other day, at which point I got intercepted by a fellow who said he’d deal with me in her stead.
I will assume she’s busy and not afraid. Scoping out Muslims trying to get into your shooting range sounds like a full-time job. Ducking ISIS does, too.
The governor is the titular head of the party Webb formally heads, and the governor has bestowed cushy state jobs on Webb’s wife and sister-in-law.
So, who do you think he’s for?
Webb perhaps didn’t pretend to be neutral as effectively as he ought to have pretended in a joint appearance at the Northeast Arkansas Political Animals Club last week with Michael John Gray, the Democratic chairman. Webb said Hutchinson had done a good job as governor and that Morgan’s challenge would be good for the party and not do any damage to it.
I guess he’s kind of implying there that Morgan isn’t posing a risk of divisiveness that might hamper Hutchinson after he wins the nomination and proceeds to the general election. Or maybe I’m merely inferring.
An article Friday at talkbusiness.net that quoted Webb from the meeting as predicting outright a Hutchinson victory … well, that would have been a faux pas, and it was retracted by Talk Business on Monday as erroneous. That was after Webb complained at the characterization of what he said.
It also was after Morgan went on Twitter to call for Webb’s resignation, and after I replied on Twitter that she had a point, and after she replied to say she finally agreed with me on something and ask that I call her for broader information about Webb’s unfairness, and after I couldn’t get her on the phone — I don’t think that’s possible — but did get a man running interference for her to say that both the party headquarters and the governor’s office had been pressuring county committees not to let her speak, although, to date, she has been eventually allowed to speak to all county committees to which she’s attempted to speak.
We’re bordering on a non-story here.
Morgan probably would like to foment a Bernie-Hillary kind of thing here — she’s Bernie and Asa’s Hillary for that purpose — by painting a picture of a state Republican Party and general establishment circling wagons for Asa and frightful of her broad new outsider appeal.
I don’t think she’s Bernie yet. Asa would have a better chance being Hillary.
So, to wrap up: Webb should pretend better. Morgan is probably doing more pestering of the party and Asa than scaring it right now. And I’ll tell you more about Morgan after, or if, I talk to her.
John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a member of the Arkansas Writers’ Hall of Fame. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.