LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Tuesday's midterm election gave Arkansas voters a chance to elect the next governor of Arkansas, choosing between Jones, Sanders, and Libertarian candidate, Ricky Dale Harrington Jr.
No matter the winner, the state would have made history—whether it elects its first Black governor or first woman governor.
The Associated Press has projected Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders as the Governor-elect of Arkansas.
Current Governor Asa Hutchinson faces his term limits, with whispers of a possible presidential run.
While none of the candidates has held elected office, Sanders was reported leading the polls in the already heavily red state due to her household name, cemented by being former President Trump's press secretary and the daughter of a former Arkansas governor.
Meanwhile, as a Pine Bluff native, scientist and preacher, Jones rivaled Sanders in nearly every facet, including the transparent long list of campaign promises found on his website, from preschool for all to protecting voting rights— similar information on Sanders's website can be found in the news releases of campaign ads.
Jones' campaign released a statement saying in part:
"I offer my deepest appreciation to our campaign staff and to the people of Arkansas – and those across the country – who supported our campaign. So many of you devoted hours working hard for the promise of Arkansas. Your hard work humbled me. Thank you very much.
Words can not express how immensely grateful I am for my amazing wife, Jerrilyn. She has taken the road less traveled with me and never wavered regardless of how windy and rough the terrain. Without her and my girls, none of this would have been possible.
The math is clear and the results of the race are clear. I congratulate Governor-Elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders on her history-making election as the first woman elected governor of Arkansas. Our state was poised to make history no matter the results. Arkansas would either elect the first African American or the first female governor. History was made. Sarah’s election has shown women, including my little girls, that being a woman is no longer a barrier to becoming governor in our state.
While we disagreed on the issues, there is no denying Sarah’s love for Arkansas. I believe, as I have always believed, that we must come together for the sake of Arkansas. Sarah and her family will remain in our thoughts and prayers and I urge everyone to give her the chance to succeed and make Arkansas a better place for all."
Harrington Jr. had a list of solutions on his website ranging from ending the death penalty to legalizing marijuana.
Who is Sarah Huckabee Sanders?
Sanders recently released a plan for a "safer, stronger Arkansas" that she claims will tackle violent crime in the state. Her proposal includes being against defunding police departments, in fact she says as governor, she would invest funding into "training and additional resources, including overtime" for law enforcement officers.
Sanders' plan also includes increasing prison capacity in order to retain violent offenders and ease the backlog in county jails.
"If an inmate is out on parole and commits another crime, the criminal must go back and serve the remainder of the original sentence to be run consecutive to the new sentence," Sanders' says of legislation she will move to enact if she is elected.
Other legislation she says would combat crime in the state is increasing mental health programs for inmates in prison along with transitioning "from a criminal-centric focus to a victim-centric focus," and enacting a "victim's bill of rights" to ensure those who have been victimized have basic protections under the law.
Sanders announced a plan centering on education in the state called LEARNS (Literacy, Empowerment, Accountability, Readiness, Networking, and School Safety) on Oct. 18. "We must educate kids, not indoctrinate them with the left’s agenda, and prepare students for the workforce, not government dependency," Sanders said in a tweet.
As the biggest name on the ballot this year in Arkansas, Sarah Sanders is the first woman elected governor of the solidly Republican state.
Sanders is the highest profile former Trump administration elected to office.
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