Tom Cotton continues to impress me that he is a serious candidate for the open Fourth Congressional District. Today, the National Republican Congressional Committee put Cotton on their "On the Radar" list, which among other things, means he has raised over $100,000. Not a bad sum this early in the race. Cotton is one of only six Republicans in the their Young Guns program to make this list for 2012.
Still no official announcement from Beth Anne Rankin, last year’s GOP nominee, but odds are she will run. And there is still the possibility that State Rep. Lane Jean or State Rep. Matthew Shepherd may get in as well.
Most interestingly, there is still no serious Democratic candidate yet although several are looking at it. As I pointed out in my Stephens Media column last week, the decision of Rep. Mike Ross not to seek re-election is a huge opportunity for Republicans to pick up this seat if they have the right candidate.
Press release from the NRCC below:
Tom Cotton Advances to ‘On the Radar’ Arkansas Republican Candidate Takes Second Step to Achieving ‘Young Gun’ Status
Washington — The National Republican Congressional Committee today announced Tom Cotton as an ‘On the Radar’ candidate, the important second step in the ‘Young Guns’ program. Founded during the 2007-2008 election cycle by Reps. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Paul Ryan (R-WI), the ‘Young Guns’ program is a Member-driven effort that is the primary method for recruiting strong candidates for both open-seat and challenger races. Cotton is running for Arkansas’ Fourth Congressional District.
“We are looking forward to working with Tom Cotton, who has already proven himself by meeting rigorous benchmarks in the ‘Young Guns’ program that will position his campaign for victory,” said NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX). “Tom Cotton’s dedication and experience enables him to advocate effectively for pro-growth policies and fight the failed status quo in Washington. This will stand in stark contrast to the Obama-Pelosi record of spending, borrowing and taxing that Arkansas families and small businesses know has failed.”
Specifically, the ‘Young Guns’ program encourages candidates who have proven their ability to meet crucial campaign benchmarks to develop their campaigns further in order to achieve victory on Election Day. In achieving ‘On the Radar’ status, Tom Cotton has met organizational and fundraising benchmarks and has already begun to establish himself as a strong contender. Cotton will now work toward even higher goals that will help him advance in the ‘Young Guns’ program and build an effective, winning campaign.
A sixth-generation Arkansan, Tom Cotton was born and raised in Dardanelle on his family’s cattle farm. After completing Harvard Law School, Cotton worked in private practice, where he concentrated on labor, employment and constitutional law. Yet ever since the September 11 attacks, Tom had felt called to serve his country in uniform, and he ultimately left his law practice to join the Army. Tom served five years as an infantry officer and is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, an Army Ranger and Bronze Star recipient. Following his service, Tom worked as a management consultant for McKinsey and Company. As a businessman, Tom has advised some of America’s most respected companies on strategy, operations, finance and marketing. Tom’s military leadership and business experience proves that he is dedicated to creating a pro-growth environment for Arkansas businesses and families.