Sarah Huckabee Sanders becomes first woman elected governor of Arkansas
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former White House spokesperson for President Donald Trump and the daughter of Mike Huckabee, a former governor, has become the first woman elected governor of Arkansas.
With 93% of the vote in by Wednesday morning, Sanders defeated her Democrat opponent Chris Jones, getting 63.1% of the vote, while Jones received 35.1% and Libertarian candidate Ricky Harrington 1.8%.
Sanders’ father previously served as governor of Arkansas from 1996-2007, with Sanders joking in her acceptance speech that while she always considered him “the best governor Arkansas has ever had,” she hoped “to take that title away from him pretty soon.”
“More than 10,000 miles, 75 counties, here we are,” said Sanders. “It has been an absolutely amazing journey every step of the way.”
Sanders also told those gathered to celebrate her win that “at the end of the day, this campaign was never about me. It was about each of you.”
“This election is about taking Arkansas to the top,” she continued. “I know that Arkansas can be first, and I’m committed to being the leader that takes us there.”
For his part, Huckabee took to Twitter to celebrate his daughter’s election win, calling it a “pretty special night.” He also lauded the election of Republican Leslie Rutledge as Arkansas' next lieutenant governor.
Throughout the gubernatorial race, Sanders had a strong edge both with name recognition and financial support, including having fundraised millions of dollars more than her two opponents.
In September, Sanders was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and underwent surgery to treat it, announcing after her operation that “by the grace of God, I am now cancer-free.”
John R. Sims, Sanders’ surgeon, said in a statement at the time that he believed the “surgery went extremely well” and accurately predicted that she would recover quickly.
“This is a stage 1 papillary thyroid carcinoma which is the most common type of thyroid cancer and has an excellent prognosis. While she will need adjuvant treatment with radioactive iodine, as well as continued long-term follow-up, I think it’s fair to say she’s now cancer free, and I don’t anticipate any of this slowing her down,” Sims said.