Asa Hutchinson's announcement that he'll run for governor again next year inevitably brought Harold Stassen to mind. Like Hutchinson, Stassen was a frequently unsuccessful political candidate, running for president nine times. Like Hutchinson, he was a Republican. Voters tired of Stassen, and they must be tiring of Hutchinson. There are dissimilarities, of course. Stassen was a moderate, at a time when the Republican Party still admitted moderates. Hutchinson is a far-right ideologue of the sort that now run the party. Stassen lacked a mean streak. He never rousted cancer victims trying to relieve their pain with medical marijuana, nor helped impeach a popularly elected president for the offense of belonging to the wrong political party. Unlike Hutchinson, Stassen never avoided military service in wartime. But there's no getting around the long losing records of both men. If a Stassenite is the best that Arkansas Republicans can offer for governor, the party's not as strong as it pretends.
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