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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Hill: Extreme Tom Cotton gives Mark Pryor hope

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 1:34 PM

click to enlarge HANGING IN: Sen. Mark Pryor is resisting a Republican challenge.
  • HANGING IN: Sen. Mark Pryor is resisting a Republican challenge.
The Hill drops into Arkansas for a report on the Mark Pryor-Tom Cotton race and finds just what everybody else has found. Mark Pryor will be no pushover and "even some Republicans seem concerned about Cotton’s uncompromisingly conservative stances."

Voting records do matter, The Hill report suggests.

“Explain your farm bill vote. We keep getting questions about that,” Susan Childs, a Garland County Republican Party official, asked Cotton in Hot Springs during a swing by the local GOP victory headquarters.

Cotton, the only one of Arkansas’s five GOP legislators to vote against it, replied that Democrats had called it a farm bill to “mislead the voters” and should have called it the “food stamp bill.”

She told The Hill afterward that she knew why Cotton voted against it but asked because it was clearly becoming an issue with GOP voters. 

Farming legislation is one thing. Being Senate Ag chairman didn't help Blanche Lincoln much. But there's so much more: Odd Tom's solo vote from Arkansas against funding the federal disaster agency; votes against every bill aimed at women — fair pay, anti-violence, family planning. And then there's his support for privatizing Social 
Security and Medicare, plush slashing Medicaid.

Personality counts, too.

Cotton seems cognizant that he needs to soften his image. He made a point to mention his new wife throughout the weekend, joking about “42 days of marital bliss” at multiple stops. His new ad, a light spot featuring his former drill sergeant yelling at him, looks to do the same

Cotton hasn't yet demonstrated Mark Pryor's touch all the same, though he's getting better. Typical was a stint Pryor did this morning on The Buzz, with talk show host Tommy Smith, who has a big male audience. Smith proclaimed that he didn't vote politics, but for the man, and said he liked Mark Pryor. Pryor, though no backslapper, aw-shucksed through a comfortable time on the show, recognizing the relative of a caller, a longtime county official, and otherwise touching easily on Arkansas topics. He's spent a lot more time here, of course, than Cotton, who departed for Harvard after high school and didn't come back until about a year ago to run for office.

The article notes people who don't like President Obama, but nonetheless seem happy to voter for a Pryor again.

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