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Sen. Trent Garner becomes 8th Arkansas state senator not running for re-election

Michael Hibblen
The Arkansas Senate on Dec. 8 during a special session to consider a tax cut package from Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

The 35-member Arkansas State Senate is about to get a full facelift.

State Sen. Trent Garner, R-El Dorado, on Monday became the eighth sitting senator to announce he would not seek re-election this year.

“ I am announcing that I will not be running for re-election to the Arkansas State Senate,” Garner said. “It’s time for me to serve the people of South Arkansas in a different role. I plan on focusing on building my legal practice and bringing conservative leadership to the judiciary.”

On Friday, State Sen. Keith Ingram, D-West Memphis, said he would not run again. His announcement comes on top of a much-earlier statement from State Sen. Jim Hendren, I-Gravette, who declared he would not run in 2022.

Three State Senators are term-limited and cannot seek re-election. They include State Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, R-Rogers; State Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock; and State Sen. Larry Teague, D-Nashville.

State Sens. Mat Pitsch, R-Fort Smith, and Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, have both announced runs for statewide office – State Treasurer and Lt. Governor, respectively, and cannot run for their Senate seats while seeking the higher offices.

Garner, an attorney and veteran, has served in the State Senate since 2017. He’s been a lightning rod for controversy through an active social media presence and a confrontational brand of politics that earned him as many supporters as detractors. He took a parting shot at Gov. Asa Hutchinson in his announcement letter.

“When I first ran for the state senate, I spoke against career politicians. After seeing how the people’s business is done in Little Rock the last few years, I believe stronger than ever a true public servant should be careful about how much time they spend in power,” Garner said.

“I’ve seen firsthand from Governor Hutchinson, a career politician who spent decades in office, how those who stay in office too long end up violating conservative principles for power. He has sold out the people in our state while failing to lead on important issues. We need leaders like President Trump who lead with courage and boldness for the people of our state,” he added.

Roby Brock is the Editor-in-Chief and Host of Talk Business & Politics.