Tom Cotton has a new television ad where he stands in front of his Yell County home and talks about his “deep roots” in the city of Dardanelle. Speaking to the camera, Cotton discusses how the home has been in his family for decades as he plants flowers around the house.

Here’s the problem with this new TV ad: Tom Cotton doesn’t even own the home he uses as a prop to show his supposed deep Arkansas roots.

A check of Yell County property tax records shows the house is actually owned by Tom Cotton’s father, Len Cotton. In fact, according to property tax records, Tom Cotton doesn’t own any property in Yell County.

It’s incredibly disingenuous of Tom Cotton to shoot a TV commercial showing him planting flowers in front of a house he doesn’t own, all while talking about his deep Arkansas roots. But I’ll give Tom Cotton credit for taking good care of his father’s house, which it’s possible he may rent.

In the TV ad, Cotton says the following: “Deep roots connect you to values, and values drive decisions.”

One would believe that in order to talk about “deep roots” in a county you must actually have, well, roots such as owning a home.

The ad also features Cotton’s new wife, the former Anna Peckham. We’ve seen Cotton’s parents in two separate TV ads, but this is the first ad featuring his wife.

According to Politico, Cotton’s wife has, in my opinion, an impressive job in Washington, D.C. as the deputy counsel for the National Reconnaissance Office.  Anna Cotton does not speak in the ad, because her federal government job in D.C. prevents her from doing so under the Hatch Act. But we do see her planting flowers with Cotton at the house Tom Cotton’s father owns.

Tom Cotton served our country honorably in the military for five years and that particular time away from Arkansas should never be used against him. As a fellow veteran, I truly respect him for his service in that regard.

However, in the almost twenty years since Cotton graduated from high school, he hasn’t spent any real time in Arkansas prior to his 2011-2012 Congressional run. His education and non-military jobs post-high school have all been out of state. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it just doesn’t make for “deep roots.”

Politically, a major problem for Tom Cotton is that his Arkansas roots aren’t that deep. Which is why Cotton used his father’s house as a prop to convince voters he has deep Arkansas roots, when in many ways, he really doesn’t.

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Michael Cook
Michael Cook is the moderator for his opinion blog, Cook's Outlook. He can be reached by e-mail at Michael@CooksOutlook.com. Follow him on Twitter: @mcookAR or on Facebook: facebook.com/CooksOutlook.