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Candidates running for Governor of Arkansas: Who are they?

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Chris Jones and Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. debated live for the state's top position on Friday.

ARKANSAS, USA — General Election Day in Arkansas is November 8, 2022.

Democrat Chris Jones, Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Libertarian Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. will be vying for the top spot in Arkansas as current Governor Asa Hutchinson faces term limits.

While none of the candidates has held elected office, Sanders is reported to lead 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 seems to rival 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. 

Harrington Jr. has a list of solutions on his website ranging from ending the death penalty to legalizing marijuana. 

It's easy to know the names of who's running, but what about the important stuff: Where do they stand on the issues?

Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Republican candidate`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 bidding to be the first woman elected governor of the solidly Republican state.

If indeed she lands the job once held by her father, Mike Huckabee, Sanders would become the highest profile former Trump administration elected to office.

Chris Jones

When addressing public safety, Democrat Jones says "while prisons should definitely have sufficient space and resources," he believes resources should be directed on "root causes because reliance on incarceration does not work."

Jones lists mental health, recidivism rates and substance abuse as those root causes of incarceration, and he says as governor he would work to prioritize building up infrastructure on mental health and substance abuse.

A focus on training and resources for employees within the criminal justice system is another pillar of Jones's campaign, saying he believes those employees "must be appropriately resourced to do their jobs well," by increasing training and resources to "ensure their safety and the best possible outcomes for the criminal justice system in general."

Jones has campaigned on a plan he calls PBJ (preschool, broadband, jobs): prioritizing preschool for all, increasing broadband across the state and boosting jobs to support economic development, 

Ricky Dale Harrington Jr.

Libertarian Harrington Jr. addresses criminal justice reform on his website saying the current criminal justice system has not been working for the people of Arkansas. 

He says to reform the criminal justice system in our state, he will focus on three basic principles: Fairness, rehabilitation and prevention. 

Harrington Jr. wants to end civil asset forfeiture in Arkansas, allowing the government to seize property without a convention of the property owner. He says Arkansas currently receives a D- ranking from the Institute for Justice for civil forfeiture policies. 

He also addresses hot-topic issues such as abortion, education and market competition. 

Click here for a voting guide ahead of the General Election this November.

You can watch all of the debates live on our YouTube channel, website, or our streaming app 5+.

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