Report: Rep. Tom Cotton to take on vulnerable Mark Pryor for Arkansas Senate seat

posted at 9:31 pm on July 31, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

An interesting development for Senate-watchers, and not a welcome one for Sen. Mark Pryor:

Arkansas Republican Rep. Tom Cotton plans to announce his bid next week to challenge two-term incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor in next year’s elections, according to a person familiar with the congressman’s plans.

The person who spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday was not authorized to speak publicly about the planned announcement and spoke on a condition of anonymity. But the freshman congressman has scheduled an event Tuesday with supporters in his hometown of Dardanelle.

Cotton’s entry will set up a heated and expensive fight for a U.S. Senate seat that Republicans believe is prime for a pickup in 2014, with groups on the right and left already waging a television ad fight in Arkansas. It also creates a domino effect, with several Republicans now eyeing Cotton’s seat in the U. S. House.


Cotton isn’t yet confirming, but his staff does confirm an event planned for Tuesday:

“On Tuesday Tom is inviting his hometown and all who have supported him along the way to hear about his fight to represent Arkansas’s values in D.C.,” said Cotton spokeswoman Caroline Rabbitt. “He looks forward to sharing his plans to continue that fight in the coming year.”

Cotton, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, was elected in 2012, handily defeating his Democratic opponent for a seat left open by the retirement of Rep. Mike Ross, who’s now running for governor. He boasts both hawkish foreign policy creds and fiscal conservative creds worthy of luring likely support from the Club for Growth, which has already been running ads against Pryor.

Arkansas is consistently ranked in the top Senate seats likely to flip in 2014:

Cotton, a military veteran with two Harvard degrees and a stint consulting for McKinsey & Co. under his belt, is a favorite of some Republicans, especially hawkish types, many of whom have been hoping he will run for Senate. He will face off against Pryor, a two-term conservative Democrat, in the deep-red state. When asked to confirm his Senate bid, his campaign offered details about a barbecue Cotton will hold next week at a community center in Dardanelle, Ark.

Cotton notably spoke last week in the House in opposition to the NSA surveillance bills.


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wha? no Blanche Lincoln….

damn?/

ted c on July 31, 2013 at 9:36 PM

I wish mr Cotton the very best of luck.

VegasRick on July 31, 2013 at 9:37 PM

other than being an interventionist, Cotton is great on all other issues and would make a fantastic Senator

he is leading the fight to stop the Boehner/Ryan amnesty in the House

commodore on July 31, 2013 at 9:38 PM

Sounds like a great challenger. Good Luck Rep Cotton.

gophergirl on July 31, 2013 at 9:39 PM

Tom Cotton voted against Justin Amash’s amendment to stop the NSA from abusing our civil rights. While I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’d vote for Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor in the race, I certainly wouldn’t vote for Tom Cotton.

FloatingRock on July 31, 2013 at 9:39 PM

He’s a leading opponent of the Schumer-Rubio-Ryan amnesty bill.

Mark1971 on July 31, 2013 at 9:43 PM

I’m sure the Establishment Pubs will find a way to lose it for him.

Liam on July 31, 2013 at 9:43 PM

Evening all…

Not happy that he supported NSA but glad to see a strong challenger to Pryor. We need to stop O in his tracks and that means flipping the Senate. Not holding my breathe as the Rs have a habit of screwing up.

CoffeeLover on July 31, 2013 at 9:43 PM

Great news!

Pork-Chop on July 31, 2013 at 9:45 PM

CoffeeLover on July 31, 2013 at 9:43 PM

Exactly! let’s hope they don’t royally screw this up.

KCB on July 31, 2013 at 9:45 PM

KCB on July 31, 2013 at 9:45 PM

Hey Ken. Good to see you tonight!

CoffeeLover on July 31, 2013 at 9:47 PM

I don’t expect to agree with anybody on everything. If Cotton is a good challenger to a Dem, more power to him I say.

Drained Brain on July 31, 2013 at 9:48 PM

Hey Ken. Good to see you tonight!

CoffeeLover on July 31, 2013 at 9:47 PM

Good to see you as well!

KCB on July 31, 2013 at 9:49 PM

“Cotton?

That a racist last name” – any libtard

sentinelrules on July 31, 2013 at 9:49 PM

Excellent news!

Tom Cotton caught my attention with a very impressive interview on one of the Sunday shows several months ago.

We need more leaders like Tom Cotton in the Senate!

wren on July 31, 2013 at 9:50 PM

Anything to deprive Reid of SML.

Wethal on July 31, 2013 at 9:52 PM

Good luck. Ixnay on the aperay.

xuyee on July 31, 2013 at 9:52 PM

I like the new blood the Rs are bringing to the Senate. I just hope it isn’t too little, too late.

KCB on July 31, 2013 at 9:53 PM

Would be a lovely pick up. I am all for it. Lets see how many more to control the Senate?

Bmore on July 31, 2013 at 9:53 PM

I also heard today that Matt Bevin will be challenging Mitch McConnell for his Senate seat in the Kentucky Republican Primary.

You can learn more about Matt Bevin at his campaign website:

http://mattbevin.com/learn/meet-matt/

The more Conservatives in the Senate, the better!

wren on July 31, 2013 at 9:54 PM

Forgot the pause.

Lets see,……. how many more to control the Senate?

Bmore on July 31, 2013 at 9:55 PM

While the NSA concerns are serious, it would be far better to that debate with a R(inoless) controlled Senate and House.

Go Cotton.

M240H on July 31, 2013 at 9:59 PM

To support the NSA is to support the proposition that the enemy of the U.S. Federal Government is the American people and to support “Islamic Nation Building” is to support the proposition that followers of Islam are the friends and allies of the U.S. Federal Government.

VorDaj on July 31, 2013 at 10:00 PM

Great news. Cheers to you, Tom Cotton.

Jaibones on July 31, 2013 at 10:00 PM

Lets see,……. how many more to control the Senate?

Bmore on July 31, 2013 at 9:55 PM

Excellent adjustment. Now I understand. ;)

Howdy, B!

predator on July 31, 2013 at 10:02 PM

Here is an updated version of the list of Senators who are up for re-election in 2014.

U.S. Senators who are up for re-election in 2014 (Class II) – 33

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?Class=2

Republicans (13)

Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) – Not running for re-election

Thad Cochran (R-MS)

Susan Collins (R-ME)

John Cornyn (R-TX)

Michael Enzi (R-WY)

Lindsey Graham (R-SC) – Richard Cash is running against Gang of 8 member Sen. Graham in the Republican Primary

James Inhofe (R-OK)

Mike Johanns (R-NE) – Not running for re-election

Mitch McConnell (R-KY) – Republican Matt Bevin challenging McConnell in Primary

James Risch (R-ID)

Pat Roberts (R-KS)

Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

Democrats (20)

Max Baucus (D-MT) – Not running for re-election

Mark Begich (D-AK) – Mead Treadwell and Joe Miller are running for the Republican nomination

Christopher Coons (D-DE)

Richard Durbin (D-IL)

Al Franken (D-MN) – Mike McFadden and Jim Abeler are running for the Republican nomination

Kay Hagan (D-NC) – Thom Tillis and Greg Brannon are running for the Republican nomination

Tom Harkin (D-IA) – Not running for re-election

Tim Johnson (D-SD) – Not running for re-election – Republicans Mike Rounds and Larry Rhoden are running for the Republican nomination

Mary Landrieu (D-LA) – Bill Cassidy is running for the Republican nomination

Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) – Deceased. Special Primary election in August. General election in October.

Carl Levin (D-MI) – Not running for re-election – Terri Lynn Land is running for the Republican nomination

Ed Markey (D-MA)

Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Mark Pryor (D-AR) – Republican Rep. Tom Cotton expected to run

Jack Reed (D-RI)

John Rockefeller IV (D-WV) – Not running for re-election – Shelley Moore Capito is running for the Republican nomination

Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

Mark Udall (D-CO)

Tom Udall (D-NM)

Mark Warner (D-VA)

If you have any updates on Senate candidates who are running in 2014, please let us know.

wren on July 31, 2013 at 10:05 PM

predator!!! Got some rain delay time off today! ; )

Bmore on July 31, 2013 at 10:08 PM

HEY, COTTON”

BREAK HIS SPINE!!!

williamg on July 31, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Nice list wren. Thank you. ; ) Copied and pasted out to my drafts.

Bmore on July 31, 2013 at 10:09 PM

Oops! I forgot to add Liz Cheney’s challenge to Senator Mike Enzi in the Wyoming Republican Primary on the list above.

wren on July 31, 2013 at 10:09 PM

Nice list wren. Thank you. ; ) Copied and pasted out to my drafts.

Bmore on July 31, 2013 at 10:09 PM

I’m glad you found the list to be useful, Bmore!

Clean the House and the Senate in 2014!

wren on July 31, 2013 at 10:11 PM

Primary every last one of them. At the very least. ; ) I’ll add the Enzi, Cheney contest. ; )

Bmore on July 31, 2013 at 10:13 PM

Welcome to the fight. Godspeed, Mr. Cotton.

crrr6 on July 31, 2013 at 10:17 PM

Surely we have someone running for Max Baucus’s seat, don’t we?

Barred on July 31, 2013 at 10:17 PM

Tom Harkin, also?

Barred on July 31, 2013 at 10:18 PM

Jeff Sessions has done a remarkable job fighting for the rights of citizens and LEGAL immigrants afforded under the constitution in the fight against AMNESTY. He has shown great courage and determination in the face of the progressive onslaught.

thatsafactjack on July 31, 2013 at 10:18 PM

Bmore — The only thing I saw for Montana was “Republicans now have the best-qualified potential candidate in Marc Racicot, the former governor.” 538Blog@NYT. Haven’t seen anything definite.

CoffeeLover on July 31, 2013 at 10:21 PM

Not to be off topic here Mary Katharine, I’m just getting caught up on headlines, this bothers me.

Bmore on July 31, 2013 at 10:22 PM

The 2014 Primary Elections begin in March 2014 with the Texas, Puerto Rico and Illinois Primaries.

Only 7 months until Primary season begins! Make sure you have strong candidates ready to run in your State/District!

See the full Primary schedule here:

http://www.thegreenpapers.com/G14/events.phtml?format=chronological

wren on July 31, 2013 at 10:25 PM

“Cotton is King!”

Sorry… Someone had to go there…

CaptFlood on July 31, 2013 at 10:32 PM

Not to be off topic here Mary Katharine, I’m just getting caught up on headlines, this bothers me.

Bmore on July 31, 2013 at 10:22 PM

She’s just doing the vandalism that Americans aren’t willing to do…

CaptFlood on July 31, 2013 at 10:36 PM

IIRC Cotton got his political start commenting on Powerlineblog.

This is back when the left was trying to argue that our troops wanted to cut and run in Iraq, and they went to the unprecedented step of declaring that Cotton didn’t actually exist but was a made up character by the Powerline folks.

This generally continued on the left until he actually ran for office at which point they pretended that they had never said anything…

18-1 on July 31, 2013 at 10:45 PM

He will face off against Pryor, a two-term conservative Democrat, in the deep-red state

Does anyone have an editor with a clue, anymore?

Though weakened, Mark — son of David — Pryor will be a formidable candidate. Here’s to his loss come November 2014…

Gohawgs on August 1, 2013 at 12:17 AM

Ah, another Rubio looking to raise his national profile and vote the Government Party line.

Punchenko on August 1, 2013 at 1:16 AM

Ah, another Rubio looking to raise his national profile and vote the Government Party line.

Punchenko on August 1, 2013 at 1:16 AM

Got any backup for this statement?

TX-96 on August 1, 2013 at 6:12 AM

Please don’t make any verbal gaffes that the media won’t shut the hell up about.

gsherin on August 1, 2013 at 6:50 AM

This is a weak candidate. 1 term in Conrgress? And leaving a House seat vulnerable. Lame. Pryor has strong name recognition and incumbency. If Arkansas Republicans were serious about winning this seat, they would beg Huckabee to get back in the game.

Pryor responds:

Mark Pryor for U.S. Senate campaign manager Jeff Weaver released the following statement Wednesday about Tom Cotton’s anticipated run for the U.S. Senate after just 209 days in Congress.

“In seven short months, Tom Cotton’s reckless and irresponsible voting record has alienated Arkansas farmers, seniors, students, women, parents and the business community by voting against such measures as the Farm Bill, Student loans, the Violence Against Women Act, and trying to cut Social Security and Medicare.

“Instead of putting Arkansas first, he has put his own political career ahead of the people of Arkansas and sided with Washington insiders and special interests. When the people of our state review Tom Cotton’s record, they won’t like what they see.”

ceruleanblue on August 1, 2013 at 7:08 AM

This is a weak candidate. 1 term in Conrgress? And leaving a House seat vulnerable. Lame. Pryor has strong name recognition and incumbency. If Arkansas Republicans were serious about winning this seat, they would beg Huckabee to get back in the game.

Yeah, one term congressional candidates make lousy candidates.

However, one term senators, especially from kenya, make great candidates.

acyl72 on August 1, 2013 at 7:24 AM

Cotton, a military veteran with two Harvard degrees and a stint consulting for McKinsey & Co. under his belt, is a favorite of some Republicans, especially hawkish types, many of whom have been hoping he will run for Senate.

Harvard diplomas aside, this guy sounds like a good choice.

Happy Nomad on August 1, 2013 at 7:33 AM

VorDaj on July 31, 2013 at 10:00 PM

Having trouble finding fault with this.

roy_batty on August 1, 2013 at 8:20 AM

Pryor, a two-term conservative Democrat…

There is no such animal anymore.

Dude voted for ObamaCare. Obama and Obamacare are both about as popular as syphilis in Arkansas. You CANNOT have voted for Obamacare and call yourself conservative. Period.

crushliberalism on August 1, 2013 at 9:07 AM

The media lets Mark Pryor be all things to all people, and controls any conservative messages he does have so that they do not influence the national debate. The media wants him to win in Arkansas so he gets a pass. So, out here in the rest of the country we don’t know what he is whispering in the electorate’s ear.

If it is a republican that has to kiss the bum of moderates, blue collar stereotype workers, or liberals, they get out the liberal megaphone in the media to “reward” them for saying the proper things, and make sure that conservatives know they are turn coats and rinos.

If someone like Pryor misspeaks it is swept under the rug, the means justifying the ends. Notice Pryor never stands up for any heroics regarding this democrat conservatism, or takes a stand? He has been there for three terms, 18 years. He has had time to turn the democrats toward “conservatism.”

I presume Huckabee has some of the same strains of Arkansas as Pryor, they buy the cliches about the wealthy, think republicans in the North East are all painted with one brush, don’t realize Wall Street is a liberal place. The thing I am hoping is that if this new challenger steps in and says something worthy of the liberal megaphone resounding, that Huckabee will step in and run. I would rather have Huckabee who is vetted nationwide, than someone they will use to do an Akin or a Murdoch on us yet again. I have never seen this candidate in action, perhaps he is articulate and charismatic, but the end justifying the means? I would rather have an easy Huckabee than an embattled race for senate in Arkansas. I would rather play chess for the veto proof Senate, others need to express themselves and indulge in whatever.

This is informative, it came in my mail thru Jim DeMint, I think.
http://www.senateconservatives.com/site/post/2155/new-poll-spells-trouble-for-mark-pryor

Fleuries on August 1, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Cotton, a military veteran with two Harvard degrees and a stint consulting for McKinsey & Co. under his belt, is a favorite of some Republicans, especially hawkish types, many of whom have been hoping he will run for Senate. He will face off against Pryor, a two-term conservative Democrat, in the deep-red state. When asked to confirm his Senate bid, his campaign offered details about a barbecue Cotton will hold next week at a community center in Dardanelle, Ark.

Tom Cotton seems like a good candidate to take out Pryor, but it’s not clear whether Arkansas is a “deep-red” state, where Bill Clinton was elected Governor five times, and Pryor ran for re-election unopposed in 2008. Pryor can probably count on the Clintons campaigning for him in 2014, so Republicans need to unite around a single conservative candidate, and Cotton might also benefit from the support of former Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Here is an updated version of the list of Senators who are up for re-election in 2014.

wren on July 31, 2013 at 10:05 PM

Thanks for this very comprehensive list, Wren.

Other than Arkansas, out of the list of Democrat incumbents, AK, SD, LA, and NC look like excellent pickup opportunities, but Republicans need to find solid candidates who have already won elections who won’t make rookie mistakes a la Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock, and how did an unknown like Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) squeak by in a deep-red state?

Shelley Capito is a solid candidate in WV, which has voted Republican in the last four Presidential elections, but continued to elect Democrat Senators. Montana is also ripe for a change, but Republicans need to convince former Gov. Mark Racicot to run for the Senate–maybe he can be convinced to spend less time with his family if his kids are older.

There are a few other tempting targets, if the Republicans can get their acts together and nominate solid candidates, in NH, CO, and VA. If Kelly Ayotte could win in NH in 2010, couldn’t another Republican win there in 2014? Colorado may be trending blue, but if a Republican candidate could argue for developing shale oil resources there (like in ND), instead of the Salazar line of being poor in a pristine wilderness, he could win a Senate seat.

If Tom Harkin is retiring in Iowa, this also becomes a pickup opportunity in a purple state that has repeatedly re-elected both Harkin (D) and Grassley (R). But have any Republican candidates stepped up yet?

Steve Z on August 1, 2013 at 10:12 AM

WOO PIG SOOIEEE.

Go Tom go.

TitularHead on August 1, 2013 at 10:16 AM

That’s a hell of a move for a freshman representative. But good on him. Just hope he is replaced in the House by someone good. I doubt he can be on the ballot for both seats at the same time.

dczombie on August 1, 2013 at 11:09 AM