The 2014 U.S. Senate race pitting Democratic incumbent Mark Pryor and Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton figures to be a doozie.
It's already shaping up that way. NPR reports on the brewing battle that's already featured some jabs:
If Republicans are going to retake the U.S. Senate in 2014, their path runs through Arkansas. The state's two-term Democratic senator, Mark Pryor, is often called the Senate's most vulnerable incumbent.
And, while the election is still 15 months away, it's already gone negative...
...For Republicans, this race presents a dream scenario: The state has turned increasingly red since Bill Clinton was governor. Arkansas went for George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney. And Pryor is the last remaining Democrat in the state's congressional delegation.
And then there's Cotton, who announced his candidacy earlier this month in his hometown of Dardanelle.
"No one will outwork me in this campaign," he said. "I will always defend our shared principles when they're attacked by anyone. I will do the right thing, even when it's the hard thing, and I will never, ever forget how I was raised or where I come from."
NPR goes on to forecast a long 15 months until voters get to choose between the new kid and the old guard.
In one corner is the state's political up-and-comer from Yell County (we wonder if he might even get James Lee Witt's vote...nah). The face of the Republican rise in Arkansas. In the other, the establishment. The name brand.
Will the state, long a holdout for Democrats in the South, actually boot the last Democrat from its congressional delegation? And a Pryor at that? Is Cotton's upward trajectory taking him too far, too fast?
A long campaign? Yes. A potentially entertaining one? Even more so.
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