Trump press secretary Sanders wins Arkansas GOP governor primary


Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders won the Republican nomination for Arkansas governor on Tuesday after a campaign where she focused primarily on national issues and criticizing President Joe Biden.

Sanders defeated former talk radio host and podcaster Doc Washburn, who mounted a long shot bid for the GOP nomination in the primary. Nuclear engineer and ordained minister Chris Jones won the Democratic nomination for governor.

Sanders was endorsed by her former boss, former President Donald Trump, and shattered fundraising records since entering the race last year. Sanders, the daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee, blanketed the state with ads going after Biden on issues like inflation and vowing to fight the “radical left.”

“As governor, I will say no to Biden and the radical left’s agenda,” Sanders says in one of her TV ads.

Sanders, accompanied by her husband and three children, cast her ballot in Little Rock shortly after polls opened Tuesday.

“I think paying attention to the bad policies and the failures of the Biden administration and the impact that they have on our state is critically important,” she said Tuesday morning. “If they continue to fail the way that they have and they continue to, I think, put states in a difficult position, then absolutely, we’re going to call them out and we’re going to continue to talk about that.”

The candidates are running to succeed Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is barred from seeking reelection because of term limits and is considering a run for president in 2024. Hutchinson endorsed Sanders’ bid after her two chief rivals for the nomination, Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, dropped out to run for other offices.

Trump publicly encouraged Sanders to run for governor when she left the White House in 2019 to return to her home state.

Sanders was already well known in Arkansas politics, going back to when she appeared in ads for her father’s campaigns. She managed Sen. John Boozman’s 2010 campaign and worked as an adviser to Sen. Tom Cotton’s in 2014. She’s appearing in ads endorsing Boozman’s reelection bid as he tries to fend off challenges in Tuesday’s primary.

Sanders has run on a promise to phase out the state’s income tax, though she’s stopped short of giving a timeline for doing so or offering details on how she’d pay for the loss in revenue.

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