Asa Hutchinson (pictured), thrashed in the race for governor in 2006, is baaack. He’s formed a committee to point to elections in — 2010. Yes, sports fans, you remember correctly. There’s an election this year, 2008.

But Asa apparently proposes to undertake oppo research now against Gov. Mike Beebe and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who’ll likely seek re-election then. Many FOI requests are planned.

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Well. Some party insiders aren’t exactly thrilled about this, or the implicit suggestion in his e-mail (on the jump) that his effort should share credit for a big Republican vote in the recent presidential primary.

“It’s three yards and a cloud of dust,” said one party insider. “It’s a long-term project for small gains.”

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The point: Beebe and McDaniel rose from the legislature. Doesn’t it make sense to focus now on making gains there with strong candidates? It would also be nice for the Republicans to run SOMEBODY for U.S. Senate this year  and somebody other than sadsacks like Mayberry and Stumbaugh for congressional seats. Some Republicans see this as a self-interested effort by Hutchinson to re-establish himself as a controller of the party, now that Mike Huckabee has gone off to pursue cable TV stardom.

No harm in preparing for 2010, particularly if you were a party with many robust leaders and lots of money. But there’s no time like the present to get politically active and strengthen grassroots.

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I am happy to hear that Asa plans to make FOI requests to the governor’s office. He may have forgotten that his party’s governor took the position that there wasn’t a shred of information in that office open to public inspection. Hutchinson is a lawyer. Maybe he’ll file the long-needed groundbreaking suit to pour a little sunshine into that office. Then Jim Parsons will have a leg to stand on when he delivers a subpoena to Brenda Turner for The Huckster’s records.

PS — Does this means Asa is running? He says no.