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CNN Predicts That Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders Will Be Elected Governor of Arkansas

CNN predicts that Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former press secretary and director of communications for former President Donald Trump, will prevail in the election for governor of Arkansas. She will be the state of Arkansas’ first female governor.

Chris Jones, a Democrat who is a former nonprofit executive and preacher with an MIT degree in nuclear engineering, was defeated by Huckabee Sanders. Arkansas last chose a Democrat as governor in 2010, and the state now leans firmly to the right.

Despite being a first-time candidate, Sanders is not new to politics. From 1996 to 2007, her father, Republican Mike Huckabee, served as governor of Arkansas. Additionally, Sanders will become the first daughter in US history to hold the position of governor of the same state her father once presided over if she defeats Democrat Chris Jones.

Prior to running her father’s 2008 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination and serving as his campaign manager in 2016, Sanders served in the George W. Bush administration for two years. She rose to national fame while working as former President Donald Trump’s press secretary, where she spent more than two years standing up for him and his policies.

She frequently disagreed with national reporters and ultimately reduced the frequency of televised briefings. She defended the action by pointing out that the media could hear straight from Trump. After entering the run for governor of Arkansas, Sanders quickly received Trump’s support. Notable opponents eventually withdrew from the race, paving the way for Sanders to win the GOP nomination.

In the contest to succeed term-limited GOP Gov. Asa Hutchison, Sanders’ path to victory was pretty straightforward, which was not surprising given the state’s recent dramatic shift to the right. But there were also individual struggles during the campaign. Sanders revealed her thyroid cancer diagnosis and “successful surgery to remove my thyroid and surrounding lymph nodes” in September.

Sanders justified her decision to give only a few interviews to local media during her campaign for governor by saying she has been speaking to voters directly. At a debate held on October 21 by the Arkansas PBS station, Sanders stated that press freedom is “extremely important, but with freedom of the press also comes a great deal of responsibility, and when they don’t live up to their end of the bargain, it forces some of us to go outside of the box, which I have done every single day for the last two years.”

Sanders emphasized important campaign issues in the discussion, such as her education plan, Arkansas LEARNS, to boost literacy rates, and her support for gradually eliminating the state income tax, though she hasn’t provided a timetable for doing so.

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