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Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin drops gubernatorial campaign, to run for attorney general

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin drops gubernatorial campaign, to run for attorney general

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim GriffinJohn (Tim) Timothy GriffinTrump faces test of power with early endorsements Trump announces new tranche of endorsements The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by TikTok - Senate trial will have drama, but no surprise ending MORE (R) dropped his gubernatorial campaign on Monday, saying he will instead run for state attorney general following former White House press secretary Sarah HuckabeeSarah SandersTrump expected to resume rallies in June Andrew Giuliani planning run for New York governor Trump appears at Sarah Huckabee Sanders campaign event MORE Sanders's entrance in the race for governor. 

“Since announcing my campaign for governor last year, I’ve been overwhelmed by the incredible support I have received from all corners of the state,” Griffin said in a statement.

“While I believe Arkansans are ready for my message of bold, conservative leadership, my conversations with friends and supporters have persuaded me that at this time, I can do more for Arkansas in a different capacity,” he added.

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Griffin said he will run to become Arkansas’s attorney general to “back law enforcement, stand for law and order by cracking down on crime and corruption, and fight the liberal agenda” from President Biden’s administration. 

“I fought the Obama/Biden agenda as a member of Congress and I’ll fight to stop the Biden-Harris administration’s infringement on the rights of Arkansans,” he said before “humbly” requesting prayers and support for his new campaign.

Griffin in 2019 became the first candidate to launch a campaign to replace current Arkansas Gov. Asa HutchinsonAsa HutchinsonThe states taking steps to ban critical race theory Overnight Health Care: Biden asks intel community to 'redouble' efforts probing COVID-19 origins | Democrats announce plan to begin crafting public option insurance bill | Lawsuit challenges Arkansas abortion ban Advocacy groups sue Arkansas over abortion ban MORE (R) in 2022. The lieutenant governor’s departure from the race signifies the power of Sanders’s campaign and support among Republicans in the state after former President TrumpDonald TrumpKushner lands book deal, slated for release in 2022 Biden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal Progressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC MORE’s endorsement.

Griffin’s exit leaves Sanders to face current Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R) and any other GOP candidates for governor who later enter the primary race.

Sanders, the daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), responded to Griffin’s announcement in a statement, calling him a “strong voice for Arkansas.”

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“I look forward to working with him to unite our party and make our state better,” she said. “I wish Tim and his family the very best."

The former White House press secretary’s campaign told CNN that she had raised $1.3 million, the amount Griffin collected between March and December 2020, in days. 

“I'm grateful for the outpouring of support from Arkansans for my campaign – our message is powerfully resonating with people in every corner of our state,” Sanders said in her statement. “As governor, I will represent all Arkansans, defend our freedom and lead with heart.”

Rutledge in a statement obtained by The Hill committed to continuing her campaign.

"The election is 15 months away and I am the only candidate with experience making decisions on behalf of 3 million Arkansans daily and have a proven record of successfully protecting our constitutional rights and freedoms from the liberal left’s radical agenda," Rutledge said.

She also commended Griffin as "a fierce advocate for Arkansas’s conservative values – our military, law enforcement and rule of law."

Griffin, who previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives and campaigned for former President George W. Bush, will join Arkansas Fair Housing Commission Director Leon Jones in the Republican primary for attorney general.