Leslie Rutledge drops bid for governor, enters race for lieutenant governor

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced her candidacy for lieutenant governor, ending her gubernatorial bid.

“Today, I am announcing my campaign for lieutenant governor of Arkansas,” Rutledge said. “Over the last seven years as the Attorney General, I have successfully fought Obama and Biden’s overreach, made Arkansas the most pro-life state, defended our Second Amendment rights, kept critical race theory out of our schools, and  kept biological boys out of girls’ sports.”

Rutledge said that current GOP governor candidate Sarah Sanders has been her friend for many years. She said she will work with Sanders to make “transformational changes” in Arkansas.

“I want to thank @LeslieRutledge for her leadership,” Sanders said in a Tweet Tuesday. “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.”

Rutledge was facing an uphill fight against the former White House Press Secretary, who was had a record-breaking campaign thus far in terms of fundraising. Last month Sanders’s campaign reported a total of $11 million had come in since its launch compared to $1.6 million for Rutledge.

The attorney general will now enter a packed GOP race for lieutenant governor. So far five candidates have said they are running, including current Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe, state Senator Jason Rapert, former GOP head Doyle Webb, Washington County Judge Joseph Wood and former Little Rock Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chris Bequette.

Kelly Krout is the lone candidate running for the Democratic nod for the seat.

Current Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, who is being term-limited out of the office, has announced a run for the attorney general’s seat. Like Rutledge, he first started a campaign for the governor’s office but dropped out just two weeks after Sanders announced her run.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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