Sarah Sanders has been up in D.C. with Donald Trump, raising questions about her eligibility to run for Arkansas governor.

The Arkansas Constitution sets forth three requirements for anyone who wants to run for governor: Be a U.S. citizen, at least 30 years old and a resident of Arkansas for at least seven years. But that last requirement isn’t as straightforward as it might seem, Central Arkansas attorneys Samual McLelland and James Baxter suggest in a provocative new article for the University of Arkansas School of Law’s “Arkansas Law Notes.”

Does Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who has raised more than $11 million for her gubernatorial bid, even meet residency requirements? The answer to that remains up in the air, McLelland and Baxter conclude.


That last requirement—residency for seven years—is not as settled as it may appear. Seven years immediately prior to taking office? Or can it be seven years from decades ago? Do the seven years even have to be consecutive? Or is “three years here and four years there” enough? This article calls for an answer to these questions from the Arkansas Supreme Court which failed to address this important question previously.

The Arkansas Supreme Court addressed the question in 2006 when Bill Halter ran for lieutenant governor, a position with the same requirements as governor. Halter was allowed to run, but the court failed to really nail down what the seven-year requirement really meant.

“So, the question still remains: does the residency requirement mean seven consecutive years immediately preceding the election or any given seven years?” the authors of the paper ask.


Only the Arkansas Supreme Court can tell us, and they’ll only do that if someone brings a suit.