TEXARKANA, Ark. (KSLA) — A former ArkLaTex resident is vying to follow in her father’s footsteps by leading the state of Arkansas.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, had been expected to run and confirmed Monday that she’s seeking the GOP nomination for governor.
As White House spokeswoman, Sanders was one of President Donald Trump’s closest aides until she left the administration in 2019.
“I think Sarah will be an outstanding governor,” Texarkana resident David Haak told KSLA News 12.
Sanders spent part of her childhood in Texarkana when her father moved there to serve as pastor at Beech Street Baptist Church.
“She will lead. She’s got great ideas,” Haak said. “I think she has been tested unlike anybody else we have had for governor.”
Haak and Debbie Haak said that Sanders was about 4 years old when they became neighbors and that they have since become close friends.
“I knew then. I told Sarah, ‘you are going to be a tough girl.’ And she is,” Debbie Haak recalled.
“And she’s got a compassionate heart. She is a very family-oriented person.”
The Haaks told KSLA News 12 that the announcement Monday by Sanders did not take them by surprise.
“We saw her a couple of weeks ago, and she told us she made her final decision,” Debbie Haak said. “We will work real hard for her; that’s for sure.”
Sanders as governor would be good for Arkansas but especially for the southwest area of the state, David Haak said.
“She knows the uniqueness of Texarkana, Ark., and the issues we have in this southwest corner of the state. And she will remember all of that, which I think will be good for us.”
Griffin and Rutledge both have welcomed Sanders to the gubernatorial contest.
“We all value Sarah Sanders’ political work in Washington and appreciate her,” says a statement released by Griffin, who grew up in Magnolia, Ark. “I welcome her to the race for governor and am glad that she’s back in Little Rock.”
But he also immediately notes that Sanders “... joined the race for governor and stumbled out of the starting gate with a mistake on policy.”
He says her “professionally polished campaign announcement video” calls for an end to sanctuary cities in Arkansas, a state that “... already bans sanctuary cities and cuts off funding to those that fail to comply.”
Griffin further seeks to set himself apart from Sanders by saying that while she said she’d advocate for reducing the state income tax, he has called for it to eventually be eliminated.