By Zachary Stieber
Ex-Donald Trump aide Sarah Sanders on Monday announced she’s running to be governor of Arkansas.
“America is great because we are free. But today, our freedom and the rule of law are under attack,” Sanders said in her announcement video.
“I was the first White House press secretary to require Secret Service protection because of a credible, violent threat against me. We’ve seen violence in our streets at a congressional baseball practice. And at our Capitol. This is not who we are as Americans. To remain free, we must have law and order and resolve our differences peacefully. The radical left solution is to impose government control and censorship from the top down. But their socialism and canceled culture will not heal America. It will only further divide and destroy us.
“Everything we love about America is at stake. 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 announced my candidacy for governor of Arkansas, and ask for your prayers and your support.”
The gubernatorial race is wide open because Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, is term-limited from running again.
Sanders is the third candidate to officially declare, following Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Tim Griffin, the state’s lieutenant governor. Both are Republicans.
The governor’s mansion has alternated between Republicans and Democrats for years. Prior to Hutchinson, Democrat Mike Beebe was governor.
Before that, Republican Mike Huckabee, a Trump ally and Sanders’s father, held the position.
Sanders, 38, spent several years as Trump’s press secretary. She left in 2019, moving back to her home state to spend time with her family.
Trump repeatedly said Sanders should run for the governor of Arkansas.
“I think she’ll do very well. And I’m trying to get her to do that,” he said at one point. “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,” he said at another time.
After leaving the White House, Sanders joined Fox News as a contributor. Sanders said in November 2019 that she felt like she was being “called” to be governor.
“It’s the role I’ve been pushed into,” Sanders added. “I wouldn’t want to do that if I wasn’t the right person to fit what the state needed at that time.”
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