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Gun-rights activist Jan Morgan kicks off Senate run

Ex-gubernatorial candidate seeking to unseat Boozman by Frank E. Lockwood | March 18, 2021 at 6:50 a.m.
FILE — In this March 27, 2018 file photo, Jan Morgan talks to a reporter at a deli near the state Capitol about her position on issues such as Arkansas Works.

Three years after unsuccessfully challenging Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson in the Republican gubernatorial primary, Garland County gun range co-owner Janet Leigh “Jan” Morgan is targeting another longtime party leader — U.S. Sen. John Boozman of Rogers.

“I’m coming for your job,” the Hot Springs activist posted Tuesday on her Facebook page.

A campaign website, registered late last month, went live Wednesday morning.

In addition to soliciting donations and sharing her biography, she also accuses “the political establishment” of being in league with “ multi-na -tional corporations” and the “banking cartels.” “The line in the sand has been drawn. Jan will NOT surrender our border, our culture, or our rights as American citizens to immigrants, establishment politicians or the global corporations pandering to them,” her online platform states.

She’s calling for “a FULL 10-year moratorium on ALL immigration.” Morgan declined to discuss her campaign with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Boozman is the senior member of the state’s congressional delegation. First elected to the U.S. House in 2001, he unseated Democratic U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln in 2010; he was easily reelected in 2016.

In February, he and 42 other Republican senators found former President Donald Trump innocent of incitement to insurrection.

Boozman said, nonetheless, that Trump “bears some responsibility” for what happened when the U.S. Capitol was stormed Jan. 6.

On March 8, Trump gave Boozman his “complete and total endorsement,” calling the senator “a great fighter for the people of Arkansas” and emphasizing Boozman’s support for the U.S. military, the Second Amendment and a secure border.

Morgan has condemned Boozman and four other members of the all-Republican Arkansas congressional delegation, saying “they betrayed our president, they betrayed the people of our state,” by recognizing the certified election results from the Nov. 3 presidential election that put President Joe Biden in office.

It’s “absurd,” she said, to blame Trump for what happened Jan. 6.

She also criticized Boozman for supporting the $900 billion covid-19 relief bill in December that Trump signed into law, which included $600 payments to most Americans.

Morgan gained national attention after banning Muslims in September 2014 from The Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range, the Hot Springs establishment she owns with her husband, Bob Paskvich.

Morgan participated in the “Save America Rally” that preceded the storming of Congress, but has said she didn’t proceed to the Capitol, opting to return to her hotel instead.

An FBI agent later came to “interrogate” her about her activities, she told Patriotically Correct Radio in an interview subsequently posted on her Facebook page.

“Because I was in Washington D.C. and I’m a Trump supporter, I was harassed by the FBI,” she said.

Connor Hagan, an FBI Little Rock spokesman, said Wednesday he couldn’t address whether investigators had questioned Morgan.

“The FBI has conducted hundreds of interviews across the nation related to the January 6th siege at the US Capitol and made numerous arrests. A full list of individuals arrested and charged can be found on the US Attorney’s Office of DC’s website,” he said in an email.

“It is against the FBI’s policy and character to harass individuals. In particular, FBI Little Rock agents hold themselves to a high professional standard which is witnessed in their courteous interactions with our community. Any statements suggesting otherwise are inaccurate,” he said, adding, “As the investigation into the Capitol siege is an ongoing criminal matter, I cannot provide any more details about specific law enforcement actions taken by our office.” In recent weeks, Morgan had lined up speaking engagements around the state.

On March 9, she addressed the Saline County Republican Women, posing for a picture with 22 participants, none of them wearing masks.

She is scheduled to speak at a White County Republican Women’s lunch today in Searcy and at a Baxter County Republican Women’s event in Mountain Home on Saturday, according to her Face-book page.

In the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary, Morgan captured 30.4% of the statewide vote, defeating the incumbent in five of the state’s 75 counties: Newton, Yell, Howard, Sevier and Little River.

Morgan isn’t the first Republican challenger Boozman has faced since winning the office.

In his party’s 2016 primary, facing Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman, Boozman received 76.5% of the vote. He went on to defeat Democrat Conner Eldridge, finishing with 59.8%.

In a written statement Wednesday, Boozman campaign spokeswoman Toni-Marie Higgins said the senator is “a strong, conservative leader for Arkansas who has always put his fellow Arkansans and their priorities first — protecting our Second Amendment and the rights of the unborn, standing up for our law enforcement, strengthening our military, securing our borders, supporting our veterans, and championing our farmers.” Noting endorsements from Trump, U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Sarah Huckabee Sanders — the former White House press secretary who is now a Republican gubernatorial candidate — Higgins said they all “recognize his strong commitment to conservative values and the results he has delivered for Arkansans across the state.”

Information for this article was contributed by Michael R. Wick-line of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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