Democrat Chris Jones enters Arkansas governor race with dramatic viral video
Chris Jones, a physicist and ordained minister, announced his candidacy for Arkansas governor last week in a launch video that has since gone viral.
My family has been in this state for 7 generations. If there’s one thing that’s clear: Arkansas deserves better than division and discord.
— Chris Jones (@JonesForAR) June 15, 2021
Jones, who is running as a Democrat and previously led the nonprofit Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, officially launched his campaign on Tuesday, entering a crowded field of candidates vying to replace sitting Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), who is ineligible to run for reelection due to term limits.
He will now take on a number of Democratic candidates, including Anthony Bland, a teacher and the party’s 2016 nominee for lieutenant governor, according to NBC News.
Two Republicans have also jumped into the race for the GOP nomination: former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is the daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), and state Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
Jones, in his announcement video that already has more than 3 million views, 22,500 likes and 7,000 retweets, said he is running for governor to help Arkansas take “a big leap forward.”
“Arkansas is ready for a big leap forward. But we need the right leaps. The last few years have shown just how easy it is to slip back in time. So that’s why I’m running for governor,” Jones says in the video.
Jones specifically cites a number of areas that he said need improvement to help take Arkansas “into the future,” including enhancing education opportunities “from cradle to career,” improving infrastructure such as bridges and rural broadband, and “making available every tool Arkansans need to build businesses and healthy families.”
“It’s about living up to our potential. It’s about living out our values. It’s about working hard together. And my fellow Arkansans, it’s about time,” he continues.
Jones, in the video, introduces himself as a physicist and an ordained minister and emphasizes his family’s strong ties to Arkansas.
He tells the story of accepting a full NASA scholarship even though he is deaf in one ear, calling it a moment when his “life changed forever.”
He also touches on his education at Morehouse College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he earned a total of five degrees, according to a local CBS affiliate, in addition to his time at the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub.
According to NBC News, Jones is a former assistant dean for graduate education at MIT, where he made efforts to double minority enrollment.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Jamie Harrison called Jones’s video “amazing” and urged his followers to watch the announcement.
Folks, I want to introduce to you yet another amazing #NewSouth candidate … Dr. Chris Jones running for Gov. of Arkansas against Sarah Huckabee “if I’m talking, I’m lying” Sanders!
— Jaime Harrison, DNC Chair (@harrisonjaime) June 16, 2021
Rick Wilson, a GOP strategist and co-founder of anti-Trump Republican group The Lincoln Project who calls himself an “ad guy” on Twitter, said Jones’s video was a “hell of an intro ad!”
Hell of an intro ad! https://t.co/tQe6DJcDFm
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) June 20, 2021
Sanders has made early strides in the race, raising $4.8 million in the first two months of her campaign.
She also already has the endorsement of former President Trump, who announced his support in January and called Sanders a “warrior” who will “always fight for the people of Arkansas.”
The former president also said Sanders is willing to do “what is right, not what is politically correct.”