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Meet the candidates running to be the next governor of Arkansas

KATV Little Rock/Pine Bluff logo KATV Little Rock/Pine Bluff 5/24/2022 KATV
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Election Day for the preferential primary in Arkansas is Tuesday, May 24. In the days leading up to the election, KATV has been featuring candidates vying to succeed the term-limited Gov. Asa Hutchinson and become the 47th governor of the State of Arkansas.

In alphabetical order, the candidates are:

Anthony "Tony" Bland (D)

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Dr. Anthony Bland's background is as diverse as they come. From Taekwondo to non-profits, banking to food banks, he's done it all. And now he's hoping to become Arkansas's next governor.

Bland is no stranger to politics. He was the Arkansas democratic party's nominee for Lt. Governor in 2018, and while he lost that campaign to Tim Griffin he won more than 290,000 votes.

"What I fought for then, I'm still fighting for now," Bland tells KATV. "And I believe that's what the people of Arkansas want - they want someone that's willing to fight for them."

A pro-choice politician he says he will fight for women.

Click here to read the rest of our feature on Anthony "Tony" Bland or visit anthonyblandforar.com to learn more about his campaign.

Ricky Dale Harrington, Jr. (L)

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In 2020, Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. won the votes of nearly 400,000 Arkansans in his head-to-head match-up with Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton. Two years later, Harrington is back in the political mix, hoping to become the state's first Black governor.

A native of Marshall, Texas and a graduate of Harding University in Searcy, Harrington is an unconventional candidate. A self-described "common man," he's running as a libertarian, and rejecting the poisonous politics practiced in Washington.

"I want to be a servant of the people," he tells KATV. "I want us to work together and build things together rather than engaging in this hyper-partisanship that is on the verge of destroying our democracy."

He's running on a promise of quality health care, a criminal justice system that's more fair, and a system of education that rewards hard work.

Click here to read the rest of our feature on Ricky Dale Harrington, Jr. or visit rickyharrington.com to learn more about his campaign.

Chris Jones (D)

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Democratic candidate Dr. Chris Jones said his focus while running for governor is on PB&J: Preschool, broadband, and jobs.

Jones, a Pine Bluff native, is also a nuclear engineer and ordained minister. He said not only are Arkansans ready for change, but they’re ready for a new style of leadership.

“We're hyper-focused on spreading PB&J across the state," said Jones. "When I look at the educational space, Arkansas is ranked bottom in education far too often and that’s because we don't pay teachers enough."

Along the campaign trail, Jones - who earned his PhD in urban planning - said one of the top complaints he's hearing from voters relates to infrastructure issues.

Click here to read the rest of our feature on Chris Jones or visit chrisforgovernor.com to learn more about his campaign.

Jay Martin (D)

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Gubernatorial hopeful Jay Martin is hoping to win the primary election and represent the Democratic Party for governor in Arkansas.

Martin told KATV he's no stranger to the world of politics. He said the division in the county that he's noticed was the influence as to why he decided to run for the state's top position. He said being a public servant is a calling he's been proud to be a part of majority of his life.

According to Martin, when he grew up in rural Pulaski County he had to face many hurdles including helping his father who was diagnosed with mental illness.

"I grew up really caring about people that were vulnerable, I had been vulnerable, but thankfully there were programs and safety nets that caught us, so we weren't completely dependent on our family," Martin said.

Click here to read the rest of our feature on Jay Martin or visit jaymartinforarkansas.org to learn more about his campaign.

James "Rus" Russell, III (D)

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James Russell, a 49-year-old Louisiana native, told KATV he's been living in the Natural State for awhile and that as a kid he would visit his grandparents in Lewisville, Ark.

"I am a transplant, but I grew up in Shreveport, La. and my grandparents lived here in Arkansas," Russell said. "They were down south in Lewisville, so I used to say all the time I had one foot in each state."

According to Russell, his journey into politics sort of fell into his lap.

The Democratic gubernatorial hopeful said his quest towards running for governor started two years ago when he witnessed the George Floyd protests and the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Click here to read the rest of our feature on James "Rus" Russell, III or visit vote4rus.com to learn more about his campaign.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R)

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she plans to focus on education, workforce, and economic development, if elected as governor.

She describes herself as being unapologetically conservative and plans to fight for the state's freedom.

Sanders touted that she's spoken to more Arkansans on the campaign trail than all the other governor candidates combined. She said many voters expressed their concerns with the state’s current workforce.

“There is not a business or an industry anywhere in this state that I meet with that says they can find and hire the skilled, qualified, workforce that they need,” Sanders said. “We have to do a better job and that starts at the basic level - making sure we're actually educating, not indoctrinating our kids, we are empowering parents, not government bureaucrats, and that we are preparing kids for the workforce - not a lifetime of government dependency.”

Click here to read the rest of our feature on Sarah Huckabee Sanders or visit sarahforgovernor.com to learn more about her campaign.

Francis "Doc" Washburn (R)

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Francis Doc Washburn has entered the 2022 primary election as a Republican governor hopeful. As we near the race for the Republican primary, Washburn believes he is the ideal candidate because he identifies as a true Republican who is not afraid to speak his mind. 

“They're trying to hurt us in the grocery store. They're trying to hurt us at the gas pump. We need a governor of this state that will push back against the overreach of this federal government,” Washburn said.

Washburn, primarily known as “Doc," spent many years as a radio talk show host and now has his own national podcast. He said through interviews and extensive research that he has been able to fully immerse himself not only in politics as a whole but into Arkansas politics.

Click here to read the rest of our feature on Francis "Doc" Washburn or visit electdocwashburn.com to learn more about his campaign.

Supha Xayprasith-Mays (D)

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Supha Xayprasith-Mays is a candidate for Arkansas state governor. If elected, she will be the first woman of Asian descent to hold the office of governor in Arkansas.

Xayprasith-Mays said she is running a "human race campaign" and is looking to help the people of Arkansas have a better future.

"I'm all about the person, not the party," said Xayprasith-Mays. "I m not running for a position. I'm here to serve the people."

Xayprasith-Mays said she came to Arkansas from Laos as a child after her widowed mother and siblings fled communist oppression. She credited her mother for teaching her the value of hard work and sacrifice.

Click here to read the rest of our feature on Supha Xayprasith-Mays or visit suphaforgovernor.com to learn more about her campaign.

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