4th District's Cotton lines up wealthy backers | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, October 15, 2011

4th District's Cotton lines up wealthy backers

Posted By on Sat, Oct 15, 2011 at 10:37 AM

OLIGARCHS ON BOARD: For Tom Cotton.
  • OLIGARCHS ON BOARD: For Tom Cotton.
Quarterly congressional fund-raising reports are now appearing on-line and, as expected, 4th District Republican candidate Tom Cotton raked in a lot of his $343,000 from Beltway and eastern associates from his school and work time spent far away from Arkansas. The Dardanelle native has relocated back in Yell County this year to make the race for Rep. Mike Ross' seat. Elite law firms and national Republican political figures dot the list.

But Cotton also has a significant pile of cash from the Arkansas oligarchy — the Stephens, Murphy, Deltic, Alltel and McGeorge financial empires are well represented. Also a Democrat from Yell County name of James Lee Witt, who kicked in $1,000. Witt must keep his options open as a bigtime Washington consultant himself now. And there was a contribution of $1,000 from interim Arkansas Lottery director Julie Baldridge, more generally associated with Democrats over the years.

And what of Beth Anne Rankin of Magnolia, who made an unsuccessful race two years ago and is trying again this year? Her report isn't posted yet. I'll take a look when it is. She has already said she'll report about $170,000, but with nearly all the money from Arkansas.

Cotton is being strongly touted in national Republican circles. Does that and his Harvard and corporate-world resume translate to grassroots appeal in a 33-county district with Tea Party tendencies against a former Miss Arkansas who's stayed planted here? Money talks, but media in this sprawling district will be a puzzle. Personal connections might mean a lot.

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