Sarah Sanders, Donald Trump’s former press secretary, announced on Monday that she is running to be governor of Arkansas, setting up a potential Republican primary battle centered around Mr Trump and his legacy.
Ms Sanders left the White House in 2019 to return to her home state and is still a strong supporter of the former president.
She launched her campaign for governor less than a week after the end of Mr Trump’s time in office and as he faces an impending impeachment trial.
Ms Sanders said she expected voters in solidly red Arkansas to embrace the former president.
In a video announcing her campaign for the Republican nomination, she said: “With the radical left now in control of Washington your governor is your last line of defence.
“In fact, your governor must be on the front line. So today I announce my candidacy for governor of Arkansas.”
Her video featured photographs of Mr Trump and criticisms of socialism, “cancel culture,” and the Green New Deal.
Ms Sanders is the daughter of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
She had been widely expected to run for the office after leaving the White House, and Mr Trump publicly encouraged her to do so.
Last year, she laid the groundwork for her candidacy, speaking to various Republican groups around the state.
The current Republican governor Asa Hutchinson cannot run again due to term limits and will leave office next year.
Ms Sanders will face several other candidates in the Republican primary, including the state’s lieutenant governor Tim Griffin and attorney general Leslie Rutledge.
Mr Trump won Arkansas by 28 percentage points in the presidential election last year.
During her time as press secretary Ms Sanders was staunch defender of Mr Trump.
In her video she recalled being the first White House press secretary to require Secret Service protection because of a credible violent threat against her.
She condemned the US Capitol riots, which led to Mr Trump’s impeachment.
Ms Sanders said: “We’ve seen violence in our streets, at a Congressional baseball practice, and our Capitol. This is not who we are as Americans.
“To remain free we must have law and order and resolve our differences peacefully. The radical left’s ‘solution’ is to impose government control and censorship from the top down. But their socialism and cancel culture will not heal America. It will only further divide and destroy us. I will defend your right to be free of socialism and tyranny.”