Huckabee Sanders’ 3Q campaign contributions top $11 million

October 25-31, 2021

By Wesley Brown


Pro-Trump gubernatorial candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders pushed her fundraising total to a new record high of nearly $11.3 million in the third quarter of 2021, dwarfing all other Republican and Democratic in the race to replace Gov. Asa Hutchinson in the 2022 Arkansas general election.


According to campaign filings with the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office for the period ended Sept. 30, Sanders raised more money in Arkansas than all her GOP and Democratic Party opponents nearly 11 months before the next governor’s race.


State campaign contribution filings show the Republican fundraising frontrunner has raised nearly $2.16 million during the third quarter, including $1,981,901.70 for the Republican primary in late May against Attorney General Rutledge. Altogether, Sanders has raised $9,664,926.19 to date and spent $4,200,348.92.


Sanders’ general election kitty is also now over $1.6 million after receiving $175,736.07 in new campaign contributions through the end of September. Altogether, campaign budget coffers for the former spokeswoman for ex-President Donald Trump now stand at $7,065,482.09 with expenditures totaling $4,200,348.92, which is more than her two top challengers in either party have raised.


While most of her campaign bounty has come from out-of-state contributors, Sanders noted that she has raised more money in Arkansas than all her other opponents combined, totaling $3.7 million from nearly 10,000 Arkansans through the end of September.


 “I am grateful for the overwhelming support I have received from every county in our state and every state in our nation,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “Now more than ever, Arkansas needs a real leader who will take our state to the top with bold reforms, lower taxes, and higher paying jobs to unleash our full potential.”


Just over a month ago, the Sanders for Governor campaign launched its first TV ad, entitled “Who We Are.” The ad debuted during the Arkansas vs. Texas football game on Sept. 11, which was broadcast before a national audience. Sanders also completed a 15-stop “Sarah for Governor Freedom Tour across Arkansas in early September where she answered questions before campaign-friendly audiences and selected local media.


Meanwhile, the race to elect Arkansas’ first Black Democratic governor continues to pick up momentum as the “Chris Jones for Governor” candidacy boosted its third quarter campaign haul with $371,796.96 in contributions in the third quarter, pushing budget coffers to $954,644.29 for the primary run.


With additional contributions of $16,970 for the 2022 general election, the former Innovation Hub executive director has raised over $971,000 since jumping in the race in June. After spending $455,506.45 in the third quarter, Jones’ campaign now has about $468,000 left in his campaign fund.


“From day one, this campaign has been prepared to do the work necessary to be in a position to reach Arkansans and win in 2022,” said Dr. Chris Jones. “This fundraising mark is proof that Arkansas is open to choosing a path that leads away from division, and toward bringing us all back together as one Arkansas.”


“Our hard, disciplined work of engaging Arkansans across the state is just getting started. We’re going to take this good news, seize this moment, and keep driving Arkansas forward. We will continue to build the serious campaign infrastructure we need to listen to voters and get our message out across this great state,” added Jones.


During the three-month period ended Sept. 30, Jones tapped Think Rubix LLC, a local Black-owned tech firm led by veteran political operatives Tristan Wilkerson Rhonna-Rose and DeJuana Thompson to expand his campaign efforts across the state. Jones said he hired Think Rubix to adapt the campaign to fully represent his background and life experiences.


Jones, whose campaign for governor has garnered national attention with a viral video highlighting his background as a nuclear engineer and minister with strong family and generation ties to Arkansas, first announced his historic candidacy on June 15. He noted that the campaign would comfortably break through the $1 million mark shortly after the third quarter filing period that ended on Sept. 30.


Campaign Manager Akama-Makia said meeting this key milestone this early in the election cycle with a first-time candidate validates that the Jones campaign is effectively unifying Arkansas.


“We’re building the kind of campaign that has the resources to compete everywhere and win. Our successful, unprecedented, early-cycle fundraising demonstrates that this belief is widely shared,” said the former campaign manager for Joyce Elliott’s 2020 losing bid for Arkansas Second District seat. “This campaign will empower, uplift, and connect Arkansans with a unifying message of faith in Arkansas.”


With the Democratic primary just over seven months away, Jones has a huge lead over three other Democratic gubernatorial candidates. To date, the Democratic ticket includes businesswoman Supha Xayprasith-Mays, Harrison native James “Rus” Russell and Anthony Bland, another Black candidate who ran for Lt. Governor in 2018. None of those three candidates have raised over $11,000.


Both Jones and Huckabee are at the top of an increasingly crowded 2020 contest to replace Hutchinson, who has served two terms as Arkansas’ 46th governor. He was first elected in November 2014 by defeating former Arkansas Democratic Congressman Mike Ross of Prescott, who held the previous fundraising record for the governor’s race of $6.44 million.


 In 2018, Hutchinson was elected again in a landslide, easily defeating Democratic newcomer Jared Henderson in the general election with more than 65% of the popular vote, the largest margin in state history and a $5.98 million campaign haul. Hutchinson was also the Republican nominee for governor in 2006 but was defeated by former Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, who served from 2007 through 2013.


In the bid to replace Hutchinson in the GOP primary, both Sanders and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge are running on a pro-Trump platform in a state where the former president won 67% of the statewide vote in the November 2020 general election. Sanders is also the daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who served in the corner office suite at the Arkansas State Capitol before Beebe and Hutchinson.


 Rutledge also has an uphill climb to catch up Sanders’ cash bounty before the GOP primary on May 24, 2020. In the third quarter, Rutledge only raised $130,470 to bring her total campaign contributions through the end of September to $1,194,759.19. However, after having spent $259,134.06 over the past three months and to put total expenditures to $558,718.96, Rutledge only has $636,040.23 for her primary run, which is more than 10 times less than Sanders. She has also raised an additional $443,500 for her general election campaign, which pushes her total campaign contributions to $1,079,540, state campaign filings show.


Under Arkansas campaign finance rules, a candidate is not required to file any financial reports or documents until his or her contributions or expenditures exceed $500, except for the final report. However, after contributions or expenditures exceed $500, the candidate must file monthly reports no later than 15 days after the end of the month that they cover.


Also, pre-election reports must be filed before any primary, runoff, general, or special election in which the candidate’s name appears on the ballot. These reports cover all campaign finances between the last report and 10 days before the election.


Final reports cover all contributions, loans and expenditures not covered by former reports. These reports are due no later than 30 days after a primary, general or runoff election in which the candidate’s name appeared on the ballot or no later than 30 days after a candidate withdraws from an election.


Also, individuals can contribute no more than $2,000 to candidates running for office in Arkansas. A PAC, and every other eligible contributor, can contribute up to $2,700 per election to a candidate. However, no PAC or county political party committee in Arkansas can accept any contribution or cumulative contributions more than $5,000 from any person in any calendar year.


The next quarterly campaign filing period for 2022 political candidates with the Arkansas Secretary of State office is Dec. 31.



  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders
    Sarah Huckabee Sanders