by Max Brantley
AP writer Andrew DeMillo is quoting an unnamed source for the account and says the big news will come at an event Aug. 6 in Dardanelle, where Cotton has rented a residence for several years for purposes of running for office in Arkansas.
An ad in the Yell County Record this week says Cotton is throwing a free barbecue dinner from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6 at the Dardanelle Community Center to announce campaign plans. His political director, Rep. John Burris, plays coy with Roby Brock in answering a question about the event:
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 Washington, D.C. He looks forward to sharing his plan to continue that fight in the coming year," Burris said
It is not exactly stunning news that the 4th District congressman plans to challenge U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor. Tom Cotton has been telling potential contributors of his plan for weeks. Second-hand, I've heard a tale that he told one person he solicited, a committed Pryor supporter, that he viewed Pryor, not himself, as the challenger. He's young and aggressive no doubt. He's also principled enough to refuse disaster aid to storm victims, food stamps to the poor and universal health care to the sick and elderly. His views include opposition to women in important roles in the military, medical rights for women and food and medicine for the poor. These, and his general warlike posture, should create an enormous gender gap for Mark Pryor to explore.
You'll remember that Cotton left an Inside the Beltway consulting job with McKinsey to come home for the first time in 2010 to explore a race against U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln. This has always been the plan and he's been cheerled by the Club for Growth and the likes of the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol, who's already touting him as a future presidential candidate. Kristol created Sarah Palin, FYI.
Wonder if Cotton staff will continue to tell the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette D.C. bureau reporters that his whereabouts are none of their business. That's at least a response, I guess. We tend not to be favored with even those. A cold and haughty customer. Whatever you may say about Mark Pryor politically, those two words don't apply. That used to count for something in Arkansas. Soon we'll see if it still does.
The Democratic Party welcomes Cotton to the race with an obvious joust — he's been spending his first two years in office advancing his own personal agenda.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas’s spokesperson Candace Martin released the following statement upon news of Congressman Tom Cotton’s political ambition surfaced today:
"Today's announcement proves that Tom Cotton's number one priority in his first few months as a Congressman has been to further his own political ambition over the needs of his constituents. Perhaps if Tom Cotton spent less time trying to further his own career, he wouldn't have voted against important legislation like the Farm Bill and the Violence Against Women Act."