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State lawmaker on leaving GOP: 'Overturning free elections ... goes down hard with me'

Arkansas State Sen. Jim Hendren (I), who recently announced he would leave the Republican Party, said early Tuesday that the “final straw” for him was Republican senators “trying to overturn a free election.”

“As a guy who spent years in the military, overturning free elections is something that goes down hard with me,” Hendren said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “And when I saw 11 senators, a member of the congressional delegation from Arkansas leading ‘Stop the Steal’ rallies, convincing people that the election had been stolen, which led directly to the insurrection on January 6, I said I can no longer be part of an organization that does that.”

Hendren specifically named Sens. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleySenate Republicans: Newly proposed ATF rules could pave way for national gun registry Eliminate family and child poverty: Richard Nixon may help in today's debate GOP divided over bills targeting tech giants MORE (R-Mo.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate Republicans: Newly proposed ATF rules could pave way for national gun registry DeSantis tops Trump in 2024 presidential straw poll White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine MORE (R-Texas), both of whom objected to President BidenJoe BidenMilitary must better understand sexual assaults to combat them The Hill's Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — Tasmanian devil wipes out penguin population On The Money: Democrats make full-court press on expanded child tax credit | White House confident Congress will raise debt ceiling MORE’s Electoral College victory in key states.

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Only one member of Arkansas’s congressional delegation, Rep. Rick CrawfordRick CrawfordGas shortages spread to more states Overnight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats hearing MORE (R), objected to the certification of Biden’s victory. Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonSenate Republicans: Newly proposed ATF rules could pave way for national gun registry Jon Stewart shows late-night conformity cabal how political comedy is done The Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? MORE (R-Ark.), who, like Hawley and Cruz, is considered a 2024 GOP presidential contender, was one of the highest-profile Republican senators to announce he would not support the challenge.

Supporters of former President TrumpDonald TrumpWhat blue wave? A close look at Texas today tells of a different story Democrats go down to the wire with Manchin Trump's former bodyguard investigated in NY prosectors' probe: report MORE stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress was meeting to finalize Biden's win. The House impeached Trump for his role in the deadly riot, and he was later acquitted in a Senate trial.

Hendren, an Air National Guard veteran, also said Tuesday that he had been disillusioned with the Republican Party over Trump’s foreign policy, citing the U.S. withdrawal from northern Syria.

“When I saw one phone call from [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan to Trump allow us to completely abandon one of the bravest and best allies I have ever seen, some of the best fighters to help us win that battle against ISIS, the Kurds … I went on statewide TV … and said this is despicable, we do not treat our allies that way,” he said on MSNBC.