A source close to Republican Lt. Governor Mark Darr confirmed on Monday that Darr is moving from his current home in Rogers back to his hometown of Mansfield in Scott County. The move back is a strong indication that Darr is preparing to announce a run for Congress if incumbent Fourth District Cong. Tom Cotton announces for the U.S. Senate as he is expected to do.
“Obviously I’m not going to run against Congressman Tom Cotton. I think he’s doing a fantastic job. I do think he would be a fantastic senator, but that’s not my decision for him,” Darr told the Arkansas News Bureau last week. “I’ve got to do what’s right for me and my family but I will make my announcement after he makes his announcement.”
Cotton”s announcement will likely trigger a domino effect with Republican candidates in 2014 including not only Darr, but other candidates considering a run for Congress. Earlier this month on Capitol View, Cotton hinted at when this announcement could come.
“There is no time frame (for considering running for the Senate). We”ve got three weeks until our August recess. That”s a traditional break in the legislative session,” said Cotton in what could have been a hint as to when his announcement would come. Another source close to Cotton also told me that I should expect something “after July, but before September.”
Darr has also recently spoken about the most hotly-debated subject during the legislative session – the private option. The remarks came during a .
“I wasn’t for the private option. I hated that we would have come to that point. But we were given bad choices. And really what I would like people to do is realize who actually got us to that point and those people are Mark Pryor and Mike Ross,” said Darr. “That would have never even happened if Mike Ross had actually stood up for the people of Arkansas and said ‘Hey, my constituents don’t want this. This isn’t good for small business in Arkansas.’”
He went on to add that although he would have voted against it if he had a vote in the Senate, he would probably not have vetoed the bill if he had been governor. Darr cautioned Republicans not to “throw each other under the bus” by fighting over this issue warning that it could cause Republicans to “become the minority party again.”
“I am really considering if Tom Cotton leaves his seat – I think that he gives us the best chance to beat Mark Pryor. And if his seat becomes vacated then I am definitely going to consider that if I feel like I can be effective in Washington D.C. And that is something that my family and I have to really consider and pray about to make sure that we are willing to do that,” said Darr.
All indications are that Darr is leaning this direction and is in the process of putting together a campaign for Congress. If he runs, it appears a Republican primary will pit Darr against Republican State Rep. Bruce Westerman of Hot Springs and perhaps two-time candidate Beth Anne Rankin.