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Conway resident plans to challenge U.S. Rep. French Hill in 2022 GOP primary

by Ryan Tarinelli | November 23, 2021 at 7:12 a.m.
Conrad Reynolds, left, and U.S. Rep. French Hill.

Conrad Reynolds said he's again running in the state's 2nd Congressional District, setting up a primary rematch with incumbent U.S. Rep. French Hill over the Central Arkansas seat.

Reynolds, a combat veteran and a government consultant on intelligence matters, served for nearly three decades as a U.S. Army military intelligence officer, according to a campaign news release. He is angling to challenge Hill from the right; the two last met in the 2014 Republican primary, which Hill won.

In announcing his campaign, the Conway resident came out criticizing Hill and sought to tie the incumbent to Republicans who have been vocal critics of former President Donald Trump, such as U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.

"He has not been the fighter that we're going to need for the foreseeable future," Reynolds said of Hill in an interview Monday.

Hill, a four-term incumbent who won by more than 10 percentage points in the 2020 general election, has in the past received support from former Vice President Mike Pence.

There are signs that Reynolds is aiming to tie into the Trump political brand. His campaign website features the slogan "Make Arkansas Great Again," a variation of the catchphrase used during Trump's 2016 campaign.

The website says a vote for Reynolds is a vote for "TRUMP'S AMERICA FIRST AGENDA" and to "RESTORE TRUMP'S ECONOMY" and "FINISH THE WALL."

In an interview, Reynolds said he would not have voted to certify the election of President Joe Biden. He claimed the contest would have been considered "a fraudulent election" in any other country.

Claims of wide-reaching voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election have been rejected by numerous officials.

Reynolds said he's running because he disapproves of certain decisions during Hill's time in Congress, including the incumbent's support for the establishment of a commission on the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

On that day in January, rioters backing Trump fought their way into the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the count that formalized Biden's victory.

"I just don't think it was right for Mr. Hill to turn his back on the people of Arkansas who did not want that," Reynolds said, speaking of the Jan. 6 commission. "The vast majority of his voters do not want that, but he voted for it anyway, and it really calls into question where his loyalty is."

Hill was one of 35 House Republicans who voted for the commission. He defended the decision in a statement earlier this year.

"I want answers from Speaker Pelosi on the lack of adequate security in the U.S. Capitol during that day," Hill said in the statement in May. "More importantly, understanding the events of January 6th is critical so that the instances of heroism can be recognized, and the errors made will never be repeated."

Reynolds, in an interview, criticized Hill for breaking ranks with the majority of House Republicans. In the news release announcing Reynolds' candidacy, many of his criticisms against the incumbent centered on political issues, such as national security and the national debt.

Brian Lee, a spokesman for Hill's campaign, issued a statement saying they "look forward to the campaign."

"It's been just over a year since the people of central Arkansas sent Congressman Hill back to Congress with a resounding victory," Lee said in the statement. "It's an honor to serve them, and he's going to continue working hard for them. We have an opponent every election cycle and this cycle won't be any different."

The party primaries are in May, and the general election is in November 2022.

Print Headline: Reynolds to seek Hill's seat in House


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