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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 4 March 2021

Trumpism tested as Sarah Huckabee Sanders runs for Arkansas governor

The former press secretary is the first significant Trump administration official to run for office since the ex-president’s defeat

Former Trump White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced on Monday that she is running for governor of Arkansas.

Ms Sanders, the daughter of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, announced the news in an eight-minute video posted to social media.

“I'm in,” the 38-year-old said in a tweet, which included a link to her campaign website.

In announcing her run in her home state's 2022 election, Ms Sanders became the first high-profile Trump administration official to seek office since former president Donald Trump was defeated in November.

“America is great because we are free, but today, our freedom and the rule of law are under attack,” Ms Sanders says in the video.

“This is not who we are as Americans. To remain free, we must have law and order and resolve our differences peacefully.”

Ms Sanders’s run comes after Republican losses in last year’s general election and a double win for Democrats in the Georgia Senate run-offs this month.

It also comes before Mr Trump’s impeachment trial and amid Republican soul-searching over the pro-Trump mob that stormed the US Capitol on January 6.

Still, Mr Trump remains popular in Arkansas and he won the state handily in November.

Ms Sanders features her former boss prominently in the video and hammers a law-and-order message but only fleetingly refers to the assault on Congress.

“I was the first White House press secretary to require Secret Service protection because of a credible, violent threat against me,” she says in the video.

“We’ve seen violence in our streets, at a congressional baseball practice and at our Capitol.”

Ms Sanders left her White House job in 2019 to return to her home state and was widely expected to run for the office.

She joins a primary field that already includes two elected leaders, Lt Gov Tim Griffin and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

No Democrat has yet announced a bid to run for the seat.

As Mr Trump’s spokeswoman, Ms Sanders frequently sparred with reporters, who grilled her on White House policy and links between the administration and Russia.

Updated: January 26, 2021 11:37 AM

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