LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — It's an open seat for the next Governor of Arkansas and the historic race is already heating up with more than a year left until elections.
"You've got women on the Republican side, that's historic. You've got African Americans on the Democratic side in real numbers," Lance Turner, online editor for Arkansas Business, said.
Seven people have already announced their candidacy for the 2022 race for Arkansas Governor. On the Democratic ticket we have Chris Jones, James Russell, Supha Mays, and Anthony Bland.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Leslie Rutledge are vying for the Republican nomination.
Third-party candidate Ricky Harrington Jr. is running libertarian.
Lance Turner said there's already some front runners in the race: Chris Jones and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, both of whom have never been elected to a political office before.
"I think you look at Chris Jones and he's captured everyone's attention on that side," Turner said.
"Really the thing that's caught everyone's attention is that video announcement, which has kind of gone viral the last couple days. It has celebrities retweeting that video and talking about it," Turner said.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders has raised $4.8 million since she announced her run for governor back in January. It's more than any candidate has obtained, including her Republican opponent, Leslie Rutledge.
Despite that, both women are making history as they are the only two on the Republican ballot so far.
"The story of Leslie Rutledge had been, until Sarah Sanders got into the race, had really been angling for that Trump endorsement," Turner said. "She really worked hard but it's difficult when Sarah Sanders gets into the race because she instantly had Trump's endorsement."
There's still a long way to go in the race, but candidates right now are focused on raising campaign funds before the primaries.
Primaries aren't until May 2022 when each party will nominate their candidate for the race.