Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism
Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst and Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton directly credited donors present at the June 16 retreat in Dana Point, California, for propelling them forward. Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner told attendees that his race would likely be decided by the presence of "third party" money — an obvious pitch for generosity from the well-heeled crowd.
During their speeches, both Cotton and Ernst noted that this was actually the second Koch brothers' retreat they had attended. Last year, the two had gone to the New Mexico event as politicians of less stature. The Koch network has since helped usher them to the doorsteps of the United States Senate.
Cotton went further, crediting Koch-funded groups for helping change the political landscape of Arkansas.
"Americans for Prosperity in Arkansas has played a critical role in turning our state from a one-party Democratic state [inaudible] building the kind of constant engagement to get people in the state involved in their communities," he said.
A willingness to go against the prevailing winds at home has endeared Cotton to the Koch brothers' crowd, however. At the California retreat, Phillips praised the congressman for voting against the congressional farm bill (on grounds that it was loaded up with corporate giveaways) even though it was popular in Arkansas.
"There are times when the candidate is running and, frankly, it's just someone that you know that there's no better alternative, right? That's not the case in Arkansas. Tom Cotton is a champion," said Phillips. "He has a 100 percent AFP voting record. ... This guy is running for the Senate [while] actually voting with 61 Republicans in the House to vote against the farm bill — in Arkansas."
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