Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Hot Springs), the House Majority Leader during this year’s legislative session, said Saturday that he is leaning towards running for Congress in 2014 if the Fourth Congressional District seat is open.
During an interview May 31, Westerman had said he was deciding between running for Congress, running for re-election to his House seat, or not running at all.
Asked by email for an update Saturday, Westerman wrote, “Those are still my three options, but I’m leaning more towards running for Congress if Tom Cotton runs for Senate. I’m getting considerable encouragement to do so and my family is warming to the idea.”
Westerman said in May that his candidacy would have certain advantages, including the size of his home Garland County, where he has deep roots. In 2012, 21 percent (2,831 out of 13,461) of the votes cast in the Fourth Congressional District’s Republican primary were cast in Garland County. The next closest was Columbia County, with 1,780 votes. He also pointed out that Garland County is centrally located in the district, which sprawls across much of the state’s southern half and extends into the River Valley in western Arkansas.
In addition to being House Majority Leader, Westerman was a principal architect of the SIMPLE plan, which served as a basis for the House Republicans’ 2012 messaging and legislative efforts.
During this year’s session, he attempted to pass a bill that would have limited the growth of state general revenue expenditures to no more than the growth of disposable personal income. He also voted against the so-called “private option” Medicaid expansion.