Entry of Republican congressman promises hot Senate race in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas Tue Aug 6, 2013 8:51pm EDT

U.S. Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas speaks at a media conference at a command center near the Albert Pike recreation area near Caddo Gap, Arkansas June 12, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Stone

U.S. Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas speaks at a media conference at a command center near the Albert Pike recreation area near Caddo Gap, Arkansas June 12, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Stone

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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (Reuters) - Arkansas Representative Tom Cotton, considered a rising star in the Republican Party, announced on Tuesday he will challenge Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Pryor in what could likely be one of the most heated 2014 races.

Cotton had been the favored Arkansas candidate among national Republicans hoping to recruit a strong slate and win majority control in the U.S. Senate.

Pryor, 50, a two-term moderate, is seen as one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents.

Cotton, 36, serving his first term in the House of Representatives, announced his intent to run at an appreciation dinner for constituents in his hometown of Dardanelle, Arkansas.

"Arkansans need a senator who will stand with them and stand up to Barack Obama," he said, "a senator who will say no more to the crony capitalism, the giveaways, the reckless spending, the unfair taxes, the job-killing regulations, and the concentration of unaccountable, unconstitutional power in Washington."

Cotton is a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and has been given a prominent role in foreign-policy debates in the House.

In response to Cotton's announcement, Pryor said in a statement: "I don't know who Mr. Cotton's been voting for, but it hasn't been for Arkansas."

"When you vote against student loans and against the farm bill and you vote to cut Medicare and Social Security, you're not voting for Arkansas, you're carrying someone else's water," he said.

Cotton voted last week against a deal to provide students with low-interest college loans.

Candace Martin, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Party of Arkansas, called Cotton "an arrogant congressman whose blind ambition has hurt women, farmers, students and seniors."

Arkansas has moved steadily toward Republicans in recent years despite being the home state of former Democratic President Bill Clinton.

President Barack Obama lost the state in the 2012 election.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Mohammad Zargham)

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Comments (4)
gcf1965 wrote:
Every politician wants you to think they are against giveaways….until it comes to their constituents, then its fight, fight, fight for what we deserve. Maybe this guy gets it, that we ALL have to realize that we cannot continue to expect everything handed down to us at someone else’s expense. I like him. It is not voting against Arkansas, but rather voting for national economic survival.

Aug 07, 2013 9:56am EDT  --  Report as abuse
HENRYC wrote:
Cotton already has a slight margin in the polls, and is hardly know in parts of the state. Pryor has little chance of winning, but it could remain close.

Aug 07, 2013 3:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Sharonann wrote:
finally, a candidate who gets it. We don’t need the communism/socialism of Obama or his cronies. We need good hard truths and Cotton tells them. When 84% of new jobs are part time, and you have 3/4 of folks on public assistance, something is terribly wrong. We just need folks like Cotton to begin the repair.

Aug 07, 2013 5:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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