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In Ross's wake 

Fourth District Rep. Mike Ross told reporters Monday morning that he would not seek re-election for Congress in 2012. When asked who might succeed Ross, he said he knew of 10 or 12 likely candidates although he refused to name names. In that candidate vacuum, others stepped in to put forward their best guesses.

Some of the top names put forward by various sources:

Tom Cotton, a Republican from Dardanelle who decided against a 2010 Senate run against Blanche Lincoln, told Talk Business blogger Jason Tolbert he will run for Ross's vacant seat. Cotton, an Army reservist, works for an international consulting firm.

Beth Anne Rankin, who was defeated solidly by Ross in the last election, also says she is considering a run, as is Republican state Rep. Lane Jean of Magnolia.

On the Democratic side, it's a little less clear. A few names have surfaced: Sen. Gene Jeffress from Louann, Sen. Larry Teague of Nashville and Rep. Chris Thomason of Hope. Conner Eldridge, appointed as U.S. attorney for the western district of Arkansas in February, may also run. Texarkana prosecutor Carlton Jones has also been mentioned as a likely contender. Lt. Gov. Mark Darr said he will not run for Congress, after some speculation that he would attempt to unseat Ross in 2012.

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