Cory Wilson / Battle for the Senate

Metro Jackson will get a taste of the battle for the Senate on February 17. On President’s Day, Madison County Republicans will feature Arkansas Congressman Tom Cotton as keynote speaker during the Madison GOP Executive Committee’s President’s Day Gala. Cotton is running for the Arkansas Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mark Pryor. Cotton, who currently represents Arkansas’ Fourth Congressional District, is touted as one of the GOP’s top 2014 candidates. To win the Senate, Republican Cotton must win across the River. (So must the GOP win against Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, too.)

There is every indication that Senator Pryor may be the most vulnerable Democrat incumbent in the country. In 2010, now Senator John Boozman routed Democrat Blanche Lincoln to win the other Arkansas Senate seat. Pryor, like every other Democrat in office at the time, was the 60th vote for Obamacare. 60th vote Lincoln lost by 20 points.

If Pryor is a weak incumbent, Cotton also looks like a strong challenger. According to his official biography, he was raised on his family’s cattle farm in Yell County, in rural west-central Arkansas. He graduated from Dardanelle High School, Harvard College, and Harvard Law School. (Probably a safe bet that the Yell County Harvard Alumni Club is even smaller than the Yale Law Alumni Club here.)

While Cotton was at Harvard Law, the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred. After a clerkship with the U.S. Court of Appeals and a brief period in private practice, Cotton joined the United States Army, not as a lawyer but as an Infantry Officer. During almost five years on active duty, he served two combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and distinguished himself in the process. Between his two combat tours, Cotton even served as a platoon leader with The Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery. He served in Afghanistan as the operations officer for a Provincial Reconstruction Team. Cotton earned the Bronze Star, Combat Infantry Badge, and Ranger Tab. After leaving active duty, Cotton returned to the private sector for a tour as a management consultant for the top-notch firm McKinsey & Co.

Madison County Journal
1/30/14