Effort to draft Sarah Huckabee Sanders for Arkansas governor race emerges

"We can show Sarah that the governor's residence is where we need her to be"

By Matthew Rozsa
August 28, 2019 8:15PM (UTC)
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Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Getty/Chip Somodevilla)

A new effort to draft Sarah Huckabee Sanders as a candidate for the upcoming 2022 gubernatorial election in Arkansas has emerged, even though the former Trump administration staffer recently joined Fox News as a paid contributor.

In an email obtained by Politico, Jarrad Shelton of Nashville, Ark., explained that he decided to create a political action committee, or PAC, because of his positive impression of Sanders' performance in the White House, where she served as President Donald Trump's second press secretary.


"I am so proud of the job Sarah did in the White House," Shelton wrote in the email. "She is a hero my daughters can look up to and is a fantastic representative of the great state of Arkansas. She possesses the strength, dignity and grace under pressure that is missing from so many leaders today . . . Working together, we can show Sarah that the governor's residence is where we need her to be."

The website for the Draft Sarah Huckabee Sanders PAC declares a similar purpose, writing that its goal is "to explore and measure the level of support for and continually promote the potential election of Sarah Huckabee Sanders as Arkansas governor 2022. As grassroots supports of Sarah Huckabee Sanders and President Trump, we want to show a groundswell of support for Sarah Huckabee Sanders nationwide to encourage her should she choose to run for office in Arkansas."

The "Draft Sarah" site was launched the same week as Sanders debuted a personal webpage, which looks similar to campaign websites.


"Sarah Huckabee Sanders served as White House press secretary for President Donald J. Trump from 2017 to 2019," the website explains under a section called "Meet Sarah." "A trusted confidante of the President, Sarah advised him on everything from press and communications strategy to personnel and policy. Sarah is only the third woman – and the very first mom – to ever hold the job of White House press secretary."

The new site also touts Sanders' relationship with Trump as a key selling point of the former press secretary's resume.

"Upon her departure from the administration, President Trump described Sarah as 'irreplaceable,' a 'warrior' and 'very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job,'" the website explains. "An early supporter of President Trump, Sarah joined the Trump campaign as a senior advisor in February 2016 during the Republican primary and continued in that role through the president’s defeat of Hillary Clinton, one of the greatest and most unexpected victories in American history."


Last week, it was announced that Sanders would be joining Fox News as a contributor, with the former press secretary writing in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter that "Fox News has been the No. 1 news organization in the country for 17 years running, and I am beyond proud to join their incredible stable of on-air contributors in providing political insights and analysis."

Although she cannot seek political office while serving as a Fox News contributor, Trump's final tweets as Sanders departed 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue indicated he would be a fan of her candidacy.


"After 3 1/2 years, our wonderful Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be leaving the White House at the end of the month and going home to the Great State of Arkansas...." Trump wrote at the time.

He later added, "....She is a very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job! I hope she decides to run for Governor of Arkansas - she would be fantastic. Sarah, thank you for a job well done!"

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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