Sanders elected governor; Republicans sweep statewide offices

by Steve Brawner ([email protected]) 1,446 views 

Photo courtesy of Michael Hibblen, KUAR 89.1 FM.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders will become Arkansas’ first female governor – and the first child of a former governor to be elected to the position – after easily winning election to the position Nov. 8 over Democrat opponent Dr. Chris Jones.

The Associated Press called the race almost immediately after polls closed at 7:30. As the night wore on, Sanders extended her lead to an impressive 63%, with Jones pulling 35% of the vote. Libertarian Ricky Harrington won 1.8% of the vote.

“The reason we started this journey nearly two years ago was because I absolutely love Arkansas,” Sanders said in her victory speech. She later said that the election was about “taking Arkansas to the top.”

Jones and Harrington were vying to become Arkansas’ first African-American statewide official, a fact alluded to by Sanders in her victory speech when she said, “One of the most amazing things about tonight was that no matter how it turned out, Arkansas was going to make history tonight.”

Sanders, 40, led a widely expected Republican sweep of the state’s constitutional officer races.

By winning the election, Sanders became the state’s 47th governor and the first Republican governor to succeed a Republican governor since the post-Civil War Reconstruction era. The daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee will return to the Governor’s Mansion where she spent part of her teen years. Huckabee became governor in 1996 and served until January 2007.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders addressed the media Tuesday (Nov. 8) morning.

Arkansas’ other political dynasties started with the Conways. James Sevier Conway was the state’s first governor. His brother, Elias Nelson Conway, was the state’s fifth governor. David  Pryor served as governor and United States senator. His son, Mark Pryor, was also a senator. Current Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s brother, Tim Hutchinson, was a U.S. senator. Both were also congressmen in the Third District.

Winthrop Rockefeller served as governor; his son, Winthrop Paul Rockefeller, was lieutenant governor. He had entered the 2006 governor’s race but withdrew after contracting cancer, a disease that took his life.

Following are the vote counts in the constitutional officer races with 75% of areas reporting.

Arkansas Governor
Ricky Dale Harrington, Jr. – L: 15,005 (1.8%)
Sarah Huckabee Sanders – R: 512,719 (63%)
Chris Jones – D: 286,132 (35.1%)

Arkansas Lt. Governor
Kelly Krout – D: 258,656 (32.1%)
Frank Gilbert – L: 29,973 (3.7%)
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge – R: 518,304 (64.2%)

Arkanas Attorney General
Jesse Gibson – D: 259,652 (32.3%)
Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin – R: 544,193 (67.7%)

Arkansas Secretary of State
Anna Beth Gorman – D: 264,028 (32.8%)
Secretary of State John Thurston – R (incumbent): 539,331 (67.1%)

Arkansas Treasurer of State
Rep. Mark Lowery – R: 532,359 (66.3%)
Pam Whitaker – D: 270,107 (33.6%)

Arkansas Auditor of State
Diamond Arnold-Johnson – D: 230,240 (28.8%)
Treasurer Dennis Milligan – R: 535,176 (67%)
Simeon Snow – L: 34,328 (4.3%)

Arkansas Commissioner of State Lands
Commissioner of State Lands Tommy Land – R (incumbent): 549,932 (68.8%)
Darlene Goldi Gaines – D: 248,429 (31.1%)

Justice Robin Wynne was on track to be re-elected to the Arkansas Supreme Court. Following are the votes with 81% of areas reporting.

Arkansas Supreme Court – Position 2
Judge Chris Carnahan – I:  309,034 (41.5%)
Justice Robin Wynne – I (incumbent):  434,804 (58.4%)