RedState is proud to issue its first Congressional endorsement for 2012: RedState supports Tom Cotton for Congress in Arkansas’ Fourth Congressional District.
Tom Cotton has perhaps the most compelling story of any new Congressional candidate this election season. This profile in the Weekly Standard lays it out in detail and is well worth the read. By way of summary, Cotton grew up in Southwest Arkansas, went to Harvard undergrad and Harvard Law, and was headed for a lucrative career as a high-profile attorney. However, along the way, 9/11 happened. Cotton decided that he needed to serve his country, so after completing his judicial clerkship and paying off his student loans, Cotton enlisted in the military. Cotton was offered a commission as a Captain in the Army JAG corps, but refused this position because he wanted to enlist in the infantry. He served combat tours as an Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan.
What sort of person leaves a cushy job with a huge salary for the privilege of being shot at by terrorists? The sort of person we need more of in the United States Congress.
As you might expect from someone with multiple degrees from Harvard who spent the last several years shooting terrorists, Cotton is bright, articulate, and passionate about America, and conservative values. He is a small-government, pro-life conservative. We feel comfortable that he would not only fight Democrats, but also Republican leadership (or a Republican President), if necessary. We are convinced that Cotton would not only be a reliable conservative vote, but also that he would be an effective advocate for conservative causes in the House.
Arkansas’ Fourth Congressional District is one of the last seats held by the Democrats in the South. Although the district has been trending red in Presidential elections (Bush took 51% of the vote in 2004, McCain took 58% in 2008), Democrat Mike Ross has held the seat without facing a serious challenge since 2000. Ross has announced his retirement (presumably to run for Governor in 2014), thus leaving the seat wide open.
Cotton’s strongest potential challenger is former Lt. Gov Bill Halter, who gained national fame for his unsuccessful primary challenge to Blanche Lincoln in 2010. Although Halter was unable to defeat Lincoln, he has nearly universal name recognition in Arkansas, and forged formidable fundraising relations with unions and the online left. If Halter runs (as is widely expected), Democrats are expected to put on a full court press to hold this seat, and Halter could realistically pour $3M into a Congressional race in Southwest Arkansas.
Obviously, fundraising prowess will be critical in this race, and Cotton has shown that he possesses it in spades. Despite the fact that this race has barely touched the national consciousness prior to this point, Cotton raised $343K in his first quarter of fundraising, and realistically expects to raise at least $1.5 to $2M before the campaign season is over. This warchest will be absolutely necessary to defeat Halter and put this seat in Republican hands where it belongs.
Cotton’s main primary opponent is former Huckabee chief of staff Beth Rankin. Rankin ran for this seat as the Republican nominee in 2010, and despite the fact that 2010 was a Republican wave year, Rankin was unable to raise sufficient funds or gain traction against Ross, suffering a disappointing double-digit loss in a race many felt the Republicans could have surely contested. We doubt that Rankin will be able to raise the necessary funds and effectively communicate a conservative message to the voters of Arkansas.
RedState supports Tom Cotton, and so should you. Donate to Tom here, Get involved if you live in the area by volunteering through his website. This is a seat a true conservative can win, and we believe Tom Cotton is that conservative.