Former Trump White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders essentially cleared the field for Arkansas governor this week.
Sanders’ political success shows rumors of former President Donald Trump’s declining political influence have been exaggerated and, in Republican circles, being a Trump alumnus holds enduring cache.
Sanders, the Trump favorite and daughter of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, has never run for office before – but that didn’t stop her from muscling out Attorney General Leslie Rutledge from the race this month, on the back of Trump’s early endorsement.
I want to thank @LeslieRutledge for her leadership. I look forward to uniting Arkansans behind my vision to grow our economy and create high-paying jobs, increase access to quality education, and deliver bold, conservative reforms that take our state to the top. https://t.co/ganDW1I6Cc
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) November 9, 2021
Trump endorsed Sanders just five days after leaving the White House:
TRUMP IS STILL THE KING
When Trump left office with a dismal approval rating last January, whispers erupted that he’d lost his political mojo.
- But the results are clear: Trump’s favorability rating has bounced back nationally, and for the first time it’s on par with Joe Biden’s.
- After a particularly rough start to the year, Trump’s position in the Republican Party is, for the moment, once again unassailable as he looks to be plotting another potential run.
- If he doesn’t run, which is very much a possibility, he’s already successfully positioned himself as a GOP kingmaker.
The upshot: Trump-endorsed candidates in major Republican primaries are likely to be winners, especially if they worked for him in the White House.
Trump’s batting average isn’t perfect, and that includes his whiff last year, when he endorsed the opponent of Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who would go on to GOP stardom, in the North Carolina Republican primary.
- Meanwhile, some party insiders have questioned Trump’s judgement, including his endorsement of former NFL star Herschel Walker in Georgia, who has struggled with personal issues, as well as Sean Parnell in Pennsylvania, who stands accused of domestic violence.