AP Source: Tom Cotton Will Run for Mark Pryor's U.S. Senate Seat

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press  on Wednesday, Jul. 31, 2013 10:15 am  

Tom Cotton, right, has scheduled an event Tuesday with supporters in his hometown of Dardanelle. A person who has spoken with Cotton said the congressman intends to enter the U.S. Senate race against Mark Pryor, who faces re-election next year.

LITTLE ROCK - 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 freshman congressman has scheduled an event Tuesday with supporters in his hometown of Dardanelle. A person who has spoken with Cotton said the congressman intends to enter the race against Pryor, who faces re-election next year.

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.

Cotton was elected to the U.S. House in 2012, to the open seat formerly held by Democrat Mike Ross. Ross is now running for Arkansas governor.

More: An AP source says Bruce Westerman will run for Tom Cotton's 4th District seat.

Cotton, 36, is a former management consultant who served in the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was elected to the 4th District in November, after racking up endorsements during his primary bid from national Republican leaders including U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona and conservative groups such as the Club for Growth.

The Club for Growth in February launched the first television ad against Pryor, seen by many as a signal that the group would back Cotton's potential candidacy.

Pryor is viewed by many Republicans as the most vulnerable Senate incumbent next year, especially after recent GOP gains in Arkansas. Republicans in November took over the state Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction and swept all four of the state's U.S. House seats.

Republicans are trying to unseat Pryor and three other Democratic incumbents who represent states that Republican Mitt Romney won in last year's presidential race: Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

Democrats need to defend 21 seats, including seven in largely rural states that Obama lost in 2012.

Republicans need to pick up six seats to regain Senate control.

On Wednesday, Pryor's campaign wasted no time in hitting back, accusing Cotton of alienating constituents on issues ranging from farming to Social Security.

 

 

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