(CN) — Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former White House press secretary under Donald Trump who often sparred with reporters during press briefings and was criticized for spreading mistruths during her tenure, announced on Monday that she will run for governor of Arkansas in 2022.
The daughter of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Sanders, 38, left the White House in July 2019 after working nearly two years as the Trump administration’s longest-serving press secretary. She enters a Republican primary race that already includes two top state elected officials: Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, is term-limited from running a third time.
“With the radical left now in control of Washington, your governor is your last line of defense. In fact, your governor must be on the frontline. So today, I announce my candidacy for governor of Arkansas and ask for your prayers and your support,” Sanders said in a nearly eight-minute video posted to Twitter.
A fierce Trump loyalist, Sanders had been expected to launch a gubernatorial campaign since returning to Arkansas, a reliably red state that Trump carried in 2020 with 62% of the vote. The former president had encouraged Sanders to run for governor, describing her as a “warrior” and “very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job.”
Sanders, a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University, worked as a senior adviser to then-Arkansas Congressman Tom Cotton in 2014 when he defeated incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Pryor, and as campaign manager for Senator John Boozman in 2010 when he unseated Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln. She also aided her father’s 2008 presidential campaign as his national political director when he won the Iowa caucuses and seven other states.
In formally launching her first bid for political office, Sanders outlined her conservative vision for Arkansas, continued to condemn the media and reintroduced herself as the bearer of a new generation of leadership.
“I took on the media, the radical left and their ‘cancel culture’ and I won. As governor I will be your voice and never let them silence you,” she said.
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