Onetime Trump Administration Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is projected to win the Republican primary in the race to be Arkansas’ next governor, a position held by her father from 1996-2007. The Associated Press called the primary race in Sanders’ favor early this evening.
Huckabee Sanders took over the White House Briefing Room podium from Sean Spicer in July 2017 and almost immediately established herself as a fierce defender of Trump and his policies. Her tenure was marked by sometimes-ugly clashes with with the White House press corps — famously CNN’s Jim Acosta — and Democrats’ accusations she spread falsehoods.
Trump announced her departure with an appreciative 2019 tweet in which he also said, “I hope she decides to run for Governor of Arkansas – she would be fantastic. Sarah, thank you for a job well done!”
A few months later, she debuted as a Fox News contributor on Fox & Friends.
She declared her candidacy for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in January 2021 saying, “As governor, I will defend our right to be free of socialism and tyranny, your Second Amendment right to keep your family safe and your freedom of speech and religious liberty. Our state needs a leader with the courage to do what’s right, not what’s political correct or convenient.”
Sanders would not be the first former White House press secretary to seek elective office. After serving as press secretary for John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, Pierre Salinger was appointed to fill a vacancy to the U.S. Senate in 1964 but lost an election for a full term that year.
She will face the winner of Arkansas Democratic primary and Libertarian nominee Ricky Dale Harrington in November.