Arkansas attorney general Rutledge drops bid for governor

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Tuesday dropped her bid for Arkansas governor, clearing former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders' path for the Republican nomination for the post.

Rutledge, who announced last year she was running for governor, said she would instead seek the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor.

“At this crossroads in our country’s history, now is a time for Christian conservative leaders to unite and fight together against those who wish to destroy the America we know and love," Rutledge said in a statement released by her campaign.

Rutledge was first elected attorney general in 2014 and won reelection in 2018. She badly trailed Sanders in fundraising for governor, with Sanders raising more than $11 million since she launched her bid in January. Rutledge had raised $1.6 million total.

The two were running to succeed Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who can’t run for reelection due to term limits. Rutledge's exit leaves Sanders as the only announced Republican candidate for governor. Several Democrats are running for the post.

Rutledge's announcement makes her the sixth candidate seeking the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor. The state's current lieutenant governor, Republican Tim Griffin, is seeking the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor next year.

Andrew Demillo, The Associated Press

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