Sarah Huckabee Sanders projected to be first female governor of Arkansas
▶ Watch Video: 11/8: Red and Blue
CBS News projects that Sarah Huckabee Sanders has won the Arkansas gubernatorial race, which would make her the first female governor of the state.
Sanders, who served as White House press secretary from 2017 to 2019, announced her bid to replace Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson in January. Hutchinson could not run again due to term limits.
During her campaign, Sanders said she was running to defend the “right to be free of socialism and tyranny,” and to protect the Second Amendment, freedom of speech and religious liberty.
Former President Donald Trump endorsed Sanders, whose father, Mike Huckabee, also served as the Republican governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007 before a failed presidential run in 2008. Sanders was an advisor on her father’s gubernatorial and presidential campaigns. She also previously advised other candidates during their campaigns, including Trump and Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas.
Sanders is one of the most high-profile former Trump officials to run for office. After she left her post at the White House, Trump had said he hoped she would run for governor.
She raised $4.8 million in just her first quarter as a candidate, her campaign announced in April. The fundraising set a record for money raised in a single quarter by any candidate in Arkansas history, according to her campaign.
Sanders graduated from Ouachita Baptist University. She lives in Little Rock with her husband, Bryan, and their three children.
In September, Sanders revealed that she had undergone successful surgery to treat thyroid cancer. She said in a statement that earlier this year, her doctor ordered a biopsy on an area of concern in her neck and the test revealed she had thyroid cancer. She said she was cancer free after the surgery.
Also running for Arkansas lieutenant governor Tuesday was Leslie Rutledge. No state has ever elected both a female governor and lieutenant governor running concurrently, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. Both Arkansas and Massachusetts could change that on Election Day, however. CBS News projected that Maura Healey had been elected as Massachusetts governor. Healey ran alongside lieutenant governor candidate Kim Driscoll, the mayor of Salem.