LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders’ campaign on Thursday said she has raised nearly $5 million in her bid to be Arkansas’ next governor, breaking the record for quarterly fundraising in the state.
Sanders’ campaign said the majority of the more than $4.8 million raised during the first three months of the year came from out-of-state donors. More than $1.5 million came from Arkansans. Sanders’ campaign, which launched in January, said it held more than 50 events in Arkansas during the quarter.
“Our message of limiting government and advancing education and opportunity is clearly resonating,” Sanders said in a statement released by her campaign.
Sanders is running against Attorney General Leslie Rutledge in next year’s Republican primary to succeed two-term GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is barred by term limits from seeking reelection. Republican Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin dropped out of the governor’s race about two weeks after Sanders joined it and is now running for attorney general.
Sanders’ fundraising eclipsed Rutledge, who reported about $198,000 raised during the same period and has raised $1.2 million since she launched her campaign last year. Rutledge’s campaign said 80% of her donations have come from Arkansas contributors.
“I remain committed to making Arkansas first and will always be more concerned about what is happening in Fort Smith, Jacksonville, Jonesboro and Pine Bluff rather than in New York and Florida,” Rutledge said in a statement.
The daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sanders left the White House as former President Donald Trump’s chief spokeswoman in 2019. She launched her bid for governor in January with an online video that prominently featured the former president and echoed his rhetoric, promising to fight the “radical left” in the solidly red state.
Two Democrats, Supha Xayprasith-Mays and James “Rus” Russell, are also running for governor next year.
Sanders has had two fundraising events featuring Trump, her campaign said. Her campaign said she had about $3.8 million cash on hand for her bid and she reported spending about $943,000 during the quarter.