Tom Cotton Raises Profile in Washington (AP Analysis)

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press  on Monday, Jun. 10, 2013 7:31 am  

Tom Cotton

Griffin, who this year ruled out his own run against Pryor, said he doesn't know if Cotton will run. But he added: "I wouldn't continue encouraging him if I thought I was wasting my time."

Cotton's proposals and rhetoric are just as encouraging to Democrats who say they believe the freshman lawmaker would be rejected as too ideologically extreme in a statewide contest. With no announced challenger against Pryor, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has already targeted Cotton with a steady stream of news releases portraying his stances on issues such as health care and his sanctions proposal as out of step with Arkansas.

Democrats also view the involvement of conservative groups that are already airing ads targeting Pryor more than 17 months away from the election as a sign that Cotton's in.

"He commands a lot of loyalty and a lot of cash from special interests in D.C. They're clearly going to spend the cash on his behalf," said Matt Canter, DSCC's deputy director. "The problem for Tom Cotton is his arrogance and his dangerous positions on issues that matter to people."

One of the groups already targeting Pryor is the Club for Growth, which backed Cotton's House bid last year and has signaled it's ready to do the same if he joins the Senate race.

"The Club for Growth PAC endorsed Tom Cotton because of his strong beliefs in economic freedom and so far in Congress he's been every bit the pro-growth champion we thought he'd be," Barney Keller, the group's communications director. "If he does decide to run for the United States Senate, our PAC would take a strong look at endorsing his candidacy."

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