BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Jim Hendren announced on Thursday his decision to leave the Republican Party and become an Independent.

Hendren, an Arkansas state senator representing District 2 in Northwest Arkansas, announced his decision in a statement posted to Twitter.

“Having spent 4 years as @ARHouseCaucus GOP leader, 4 years as the @ARSenateGOP leader and last 2 years as @ArkansasSenate President, it was not an easy decision to leave the @GOP but today I announce I’m leaving to become an Independent,” Hendren said.

Hendren has spent the last two years as Arkansas Senate president.

Jonelle Fulmer, Chairwoman of the Republican Party of Arkansas, released the following statement on Jim Hendren’s announcement:

Not once, to myself or my predecessor, has Jim Hendren ever picked up the phone to express concerns. He gladly received our substantial support over the years, including a mail piece from us last fall in his bid for re-election, where he ran on the Republican ticket a mere three months ago. The Republican Party has plenty of room for differing ideas. In fact, that is what has made us the majority party of Arkansas. Some of the concerns raised by Jim stem from a presidential primary five years ago, which calls into question his motivation now. This is nothing more than an attempt to garner press for a future independent candidacy for governor, knowing that he cannot compete with the conservative records of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge or Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Jonelle Fulmer