Miss the days when a White House press secretary would take press questions directly instead of “circling back?” Well, at least directness in the White House press briefing room can lead to other opportunities, as Sarah Huckabee Sanders is finding out.
According to Arkansas-centric Talk Business and Politics, Sanders — who’s running for governor of the Razorback State — took in over $1.6 million in the fourth quarter, far more than any of her competitors.
Sanders was a fixture as former President Donald Trump’s press secretary between 2017 and 2019, where she did battle against the mainstream media. (She’ll likely continue doing that, given that the media wants to smear any Trump-era official they can get their hands on. Here at The Western Journal, we work daily to counter the media’s narrative — and you can help us in our fight by subscribing.)
During the fourth quarter, Talk Business and Politics reported, Sanders raised $1,626,070, bringing her total to $12,892,345 raised.
Of that, she currently has $7,342,155 cash on hand.
No other candidate was in seven figures in the fourth quarter, and only one pulled in six figures worth of fundraising: Dr. Chris Jones, the top Democratic candidate.
Jones raised $328,846 to bring his total money raised to $1,300,461. As for cash on hand, he has $330,965.
That’s likely irrelevant, however, particularly in a year that isn’t supposed to be good for Democrats. Sanders has already cleared the Republican field and garnered the endorsements of the sitting governor and other Arkansas GOP figures.
Sanders’ only serious opponent was Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, according to Fox News. Rutledge called Sanders a Washington insider: “While my opponent talks about the liberal left in Washington, D.C., she has done nothing to effectively combat them in the last several years,” she said in September.
However, Rutledge dropped her bid in November, saying it was time for “Christian conservative leaders to unite” behind Sanders.
Arkansas’ current governor, Asa Hutchinson, also threw his support behind Sanders in November, saying the state would “be in good hands” with her as governor.
“I’ve known Sarah Huckabee Sanders most of her life and know firsthand her love for our state and her heart for public service,” he added. “Sarah has earned the Republican nomination and I’m delighted today to endorse her for Governor.”
In a joint statement, both of Arkansas’ senators, Republicans John Boozman and Tom Cotton, said Sanders would be an “outstanding governor.”
All four of its House of Representatives members agreed, too.
“We are proud to endorse Sarah Huckabee Sanders for governor of Arkansas. We know she is the right leader for our state, and it is time for Republicans to come together so we can move forward in our fight for a stronger Arkansas and a stronger America,” said GOP Reps. Rick Crawford, French Hill, Bruce Westerman and Steve Womack in a joint statement.
While Arkansas is traditionally a red state and a governor’s race doesn’t necessarily carry national implications, there are reasons why Sanders could cause the Democrats and President Joe Biden’s administration headaches from afar.
To start, no matter how wide the margin of victory is, a significant amount of money in the fundraising coffers ensures a high-profile race even if it’s a blowout. Sanders is a nationally known figure and her father, Mike Huckabee, was governor of the state between 1996 and 2007 — another storyline for the media to latch onto.
Furthermore, Sanders will be replacing Hutchinson, a governor who has become significantly more moderate as he approaches the end of his term-limited tenure.
Last April, Hutchinson caused an uproar among conservatives when he vetoed a bill that would ban so-called gender transitioning therapies like puberty blockers and hormone treatments from being used on minors.
“While in some instances the state must act to protect life, the state should not presume to jump into the middle of every medical, human and ethical issue,” he said when he vetoed the bill, according to The Hill. “This would be — and is — a vast government overreach.”
The state legislature overrode his veto.
In addition, The Hill’s Brett Samuels noted, Hutchinson “was a regular if under the radar critic of [former President Trump’s] rhetoric and pandemic response throughout 2020.”
But, perhaps the biggest impact is that Sanders, should she be elected, would serve as a reminder of the reality of the Trump years for a Biden administration that’s gotten significant mileage out of painting the ancien régime as a cohort of evil, conspiracy-minded, coup-plotting kooks. As we’ve seen for the past few weeks, it’s all they have to cover up their own failures. Sanders could — and hopefully will — serve as a reminder that narrative is merely a fear-mongering tactic, one that’s exhibiting diminishing returns on the electorate.
Not only that, expect her to push back on the Biden administration’s numerous overreaches — something conservatives can all get behind.