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Is Tom Cotton looking ahead? 

Tom Cotton of Dardanelle, who came home from a Washington consulting job to run for 4th District Congress as a Republican, hasn't won his first election yet but people are already talking about higher office.

He's so impressed conservative bloggers that his name popped up last spring on conservative blogs as a potential candidate for U.S. Senate in 2014 against incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor. This was even before he'd won the Republican primary for the nomination. More recently, Republican politicos have been chattering about alleged Cotton positioning for the Senate race.

With big money, Cotton has emerged as a favorite in the 4th District and one of his opponents, Libertarian Party nominee Bobby Tullis, pulled out a time-honored political ploy last week, demanding that Cotton pledge not to seek higher office in 2014, but to keep working for the people he might be elected to serve this year. All politicians are ambitious, of course, but it's long been thought effective to accuse a candidate of using an office as a stepping-stone.

It took a few days, but the Times finally wrung a response out of Cotton spokesman Doug Coutts:

"You can quote Tom as follows: 'I don't have time to think about anything but working 24/7 to serve the people of the 4th Congressional District.'

"I can confirm that your reporting on NRSC contacts is incorrect. Neither Tom nor anyone acting on his behalf have had contact with the NRSC. Don't trust everything you hear in the LR echo chamber..."

Credit Cotton's campaign with a sense of humor. That "quote" from Cotton was the sentence crafted by our Arkansas Blog as a suggested response when it first announced Tullis' challenge.

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