Nov 23, 2022 - Politics

Before inauguration, Sarah Huckabee Sanders planning for 2026 bid

Gov.-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives her acceptance speech.

Gov.-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives her acceptance speech. Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

Even as her team is busy planning an inauguration ball, Gov.-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders has her eye on re-election.

Driving the news: This week the Sanders administration announced an agenda for her inauguration festivities Jan. 7 and 10, 2023 and appointed her chief of staff, and the campaign named a senior adviser for a 2026 bid.

Why it matters: The actions indicate an organized transition is in play for the transfer of executive power.

  • Yes, and: The inauguration will be historic as Sanders is the first woman to be elected governor in the state.

Details: Specifics — including locations and times — are pending, but the inauguration celebration begins on Saturday, Jan. 7, with a "Freedom Fest" in the afternoon followed by bourbon and cigars with the first gentleman Bryan Sanders in the evening.

  • A prayer and worship service will be held early on Jan. 10, followed by the swearing in and an address from Sanders.
  • The inauguration ball will be that evening at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.

Meanwhile, Sanders named Gretchen Conger as chief of staff. Conger joined the governor-elect's campaign in 2021 and was previously deputy chief of staff to Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona.

  • The Sanders campaign announced it would transfer more than $2.5 million from the 2022 bid to a 2026 re-election effort and noted that campaign manager Chris Caldwell will be a senior adviser.

What's next: More details about the inauguration are coming soon.

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