LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Two women broke the “glass ceiling” Tuesday night by being elected as governor and lieutenant governor of Arkansas, respectively.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be the first woman governor of Arkansas after cruising to an Election Day victory.
“It will be the honor of a lifetime to serve as Arkansas’ 47th governor and the first female governor the state of Arkansas has ever had,” Sanders said.
Sanders’ longtime friend Leslie Rutledge will be the first lieutenant governor in Arkansas history. Just eight years ago, she became the first woman attorney general in the state.
“My dad likes to say, ‘I look at you and see this little girl who went to a public school and grew up on a cattle farm,” Rutledge said.
Sanders’ campaign declined an interview opportunity Wednesday, but Rutledge spoke about making history in the state.
“When I was campaigning for attorney general [eight years ago], I was often asked, ‘Are you tough enough to do the job?'” Rutledge said. “I would tell them, ‘Yes. If a girl can get through junior high, she can do absolutely anything.'”
Both Sanders and Rutledge are Republicans. Dr. Janine Parry, a political scientist at the University of Arkansas, said in an interview before the election that the election could have historic significance regardless of political affiliation.
“I think they might pause and just think of somebody who looks like the rest of America might be, especially on younger generations,” Parry said.
Dr. Chris Jones (D), who was defeated by Sanders in the governor’s race, took time in a statement sent Wednesday to reflect on what her election means for future generations.
“Sarah’s election has shown women, including my little girls, that being a woman is no longer a barrier to becoming governor in our state,” Jones wrote.
Rutledge said this election will have ripple effects down the line.
“Yes, I’m going to be the first woman lieutenant governor, and Sarah’s going to be the first woman governor,” Rutledge said. “Together, we’re going to make a difference for the state of Arkansas.”