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Sarah Huckabee Sanders Announces Run For Arkansas Governor

Sarah Huckabee Sanders the former White House Press Secretary for the Trump White House announced she is running for governor of Arkansas. Sanders is seen above during an appearance on Fox News in 2019.
Steven Ferdman
Getty Images
Sarah Huckabee Sanders the former White House Press Secretary for the Trump White House announced she is running for governor of Arkansas. Sanders is seen above during an appearance on Fox News in 2019.

Updated 11:28 a.m. ET

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a former White House press secretary for President Donald Trump and daughter of two-term Arkansas Gov.-turned-political commentator Mike Huckabee, officially launched her own gubernatorial bid Monday.

Her announcement comes less than a week after her former boss left the White House. It also comes two weeks before the Senate is set to start Trump's second impeachment trial, where Trump is charged with inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 that left at least five people dead, including a Capitol police officer.

"I've been tested under fire, successfully managing one crisis after another, in one of the most difficult, high-pressure jobs in all of government," Sanders said in a nearly eight-minute video announcing her bid. "At the table with President Trump, confronting our most dangerous adversaries like China and North Korea."

During her time as press secretary, Sanders was known for her combative media briefings and frequent clashes with the White House press corps. She was tasked with defending Trump's controversial or contradictory statements, often leading to questions about her own credibility.

For example, in May 2017, Sanders told reporters that former FBI Director James Comey was fired by Trump after White House officials "heard from countless members of the FBI" that rank-and-file members had lost confidence in Comey.

But special counsel Robert Mueller's report, released in April 2019, said Sanders' statement was not truthful.

"Sanders acknowledged to investigators that her comments were not founded on anything," the report stated.

Sanders, who left the White House in 2019, reminded Arkansans in her announcement video that she was just the third woman and first mother to serve as White House press secretary. She added that she will "not be intimidated by the serious challenges we face."

She vowed to stand with law enforcement officers, prohibit sanctuary cities, including blocking state funding for cities that "deliberately violate immigration laws" and fight for the working poor.

"With the radical left now in control of Washington, your governor is your last line of defense," Sanders added. "As governor, I will defend your 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."

If elected as Arkansas governor, she'll follow in the footsteps of her father, who served two terms from 1996 to 2007. He also ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in both 2008 and 2016.

The 38-year-old Sanders is running to succeed the term-limited GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson. She enters a 2022 Republican primary field that already includes Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin and Leslie Rutledge, the state's attorney general.

NPR member station KUAR in Little Rock, Ark., reports as of Monday, no Democrat has announced their intention to run for governor next year.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Brakkton Booker is a National Desk reporter based in Washington, DC.
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