Sarah Huckabee Sanders won the Republican nomination and Dr. Chris Jones won the Democratic nomination for governor of Arkansas on Tuesday.
Sanders headed into the primary virtually assured of the nomination. Former President Donald Trump publicly encouraged Sanders to run for governor when she left the White House in 2019 to return to her home state.
Governor Asa Hutchinson, who is barred by term limits from seeking reelection, endorsed Sanders in November after her two chief rivals for the nomination — Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge — dropped out to seek other offices.
Sanders was already well known in Arkansas politics, going back to when she appeared in ads for her father’s campaigns. She managed Sen. John Boozman’s 2010 election and worked as an adviser to Sen. Tom Cotton’s in 2014. She appeared in ads endorsing Boozman, who won the GOP primary for his seat after fending off challenges from the right.
Sanders has run on a promise to phase out the state’s income tax, though she’s stopped short of giving a timeline for doing so or offering details on how she’d pay for the loss in revenue.
Jones, who won the Democratic nomination in a five-person primary, launched his campaign last year with a video that quickly went viral and contrasted with Sanders’ rhetoric. During his victory speech, he continued that theme, presenting himself as a more unifying figure than Sanders.
“Arkansans are clear that we are sick and tired of the politics of division,” Jones said.
Jones is among dozens of Black Democrats who are running in areas that Trump has won, in the hopes of mobilizing more voters. Arkansas has never elected an African-American to statewide or federal office.
Before jumping into the governor’s race, Jones headed the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, a nonprofit that helps entrepreneurs. He has dubbed his platform “PB&J,” which he says stands for preschool, broadband and jobs.
Other official Arkansas primary election results:
- U.S. Senate: Democrat Natalie James | incumbent Republican John Boozman
- Lieutenant Governor: Democrat Kelly Krout | Republican Leslie Rutledge
- Attorney General: Republican Tim Griffin | Democrat Jesse Gibson
- Secretary of State: Democrat Anna Beth Gorman | incumbent Republican John Thurston
- Treasurer: Republican Mark Lowery | Democrat Pam Whitaker
The general election will take place on November 8, 2022.
Source: AP (The Associated Press)