Sarah Huckabee Sanders will win the GOP nomination for governor of Arkansas, CNN projected on Tuesday, putting her in strong position to win the governorship in the election scheduled for November 8.
The 39-year-old, who served as former President Donald Trump’s White House press secretary, enjoyed the support of Trump and easily dispatched her sole Republican opponent.
Sanders was touted as a contender for the post after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019.
A return to the governor's mansion would be a homecoming for Sanders after she spent her teenage years in that residence as the daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee, who led the state for more than 10 years.
During her campaign, Sanders pointed to her tenure in the White House as testament to her unwillingness to back down, presenting herself as a firewall against the "radical left" while heaping scorn on the national media.
Sanders came under fire personally when then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report was released. It revealed that as deputy press secretary, she had provided baseless information to reporters when she claimed in May of 2017, after the President had terminated FBI Director James Comey, that "countless" FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey.
Sanders acknowledged to investigators that her comments were "not founded on anything," the Mueller report said.
Trump's endorsement gave Sanders greater entrée to thousands of his small-dollar donors and she was also backed by GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Sanders centered her campaign on decrying public school closures during the pandemic and taking aim at critical race theory. She has claimed that as governor she would "educate kids, not indoctrinate them."
She styled herself as the "last line of defense against the dangerous, radical left policies coming out of Washington." And she frequently reminded her audience of her relatability as a mom by prominently featuring her three children in her ads.