Sarah Huckabee Sanders announces run for governor of Arkansas

Author: Fin Gomez and Caroline Linton / CBS News
Published: Updated:
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Sarah Huckabee Sanders is running for governor of Arkansas in the 2022 election, CBS News has confirmed. She announced her campaign in a video posted to her Twitter account Monday.

In the nearly eight-minute-long announcement, Sanders highlighted her tenure serving as White House press secretary under former President Donald Trump and called for an end to violence and return to peaceful protest.

“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 front line. So today I announce my candidacy for governor of Arkansas,” Sanders said. “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 politically correct or convenient.”

The current Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson, cannot run again due to term limits.

Sanders, the daughter of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, became a household name while working as part of the Trump White House communications team. She initially served as deputy White House press secretary before taking over as press secretary after Sean Spicer resigned. Known publicly for her adversarial relationship with the press, she privately had a good relationship with many reporters.

When she left the administration in June 2019, she had not given a press briefing in over 100 days. She tweeted at the time that she was leaving with her “head held high.”

Sanders served as press secretary for two years. Her successor, Stephanie Grisham, left after 10 months without holding a single press briefing. Sanders, one of original Trump White House staffers, called working for Mr. Trump the “opportunity of a lifetime.”

Her bid for governor was widely expected — Mr. Trump tweeted when she left the press office that he hoped she would run.

“After 3 1/2 years, our wonderful Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be leaving the White House at the end of the month and going home to the Great State of Arkansas,” Mr. Trump wrote in June 2019 on his now-deleted Twitter account. “She is a very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job! I hope she decides to run for Governor of Arkansas – she would be fantastic. Sarah, thank you for a job well done!”

Sanders was a favorite adviser of Mr. Trump’s, and she was a frequent guest at his rallies during the campaign, even after she left the White House.

Since leaving left the White House, Sanders has published a bestselling book, called “Speaking for Myself: Faith, Freedom and the Fight for Our Lives Inside the Trump White House,” that detailed her time as the first working mother to be White House press secretary.

“As a working mom, it’s not lost on me what a great honor and privilege it is to stand here at the podium,” she said memorably during a briefing.

Sanders also likened her time as press secretary as being caught in between a “raging battle between the president and the media.”

“I often felt like I was on the front lines in no-man’s land,” Sander wrote.

Sanders will be jumping into a Republican primary race that already includes two state elected officials: Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin and state Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

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