Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is no longer seeking the Republican nomination for governor and will instead run for lieutenant governor, her campaign announced Tuesday night.
Rutledge endorsed Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former White House press secretary and daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Since officially announcing her candidacy earlier this year, Sanders had become the clear frontrunner and is now unopposed for the GOP nomination.
In a statement, Rutledge said, “Since announcing my candidacy for governor, I have been blessed by an outpouring of support from Arkansans in every community. At this crossroads in our country’s history, now is a time for Christian conservative leaders to unite and fight together against those who wish to destroy the America we know and love.
“Sarah Sanders has been a friend for many years, and I know that as governor she will stand strong against the onslaught of the liberal left’s attack on our home state.”
Other announced gubernatorial candidates are Democrats Supha Xayprasith-Mays, Chris Jones, James Russell, Anthony Bland and Libertarian Ricky Dale Harrington.
Sanders released her own statement Tuesday night: “I want to thank Leslie Rutledge for her leadership. I look forward to uniting Arkansans behind my vision to grow our economy and create high-paying jobs, increase access to quality education, and deliver bold, conservative reforms that take our state to the top.”
Rutledge now joins a lieutenant governor field that includes Republicans Greg Bledsoe, Jason Rapert, Doyle Webb, Chris Bequette, Joseph Wood and Democrat Kelly Krout.