The only open Congressional district this next election cycle – AR4 – could see a plethora of candidates as two more names emerge that could join the four that have already announced. One name is a newcomer to politics, while the other is a somewhat familiar face.
Several of my readers told me over the last few days that they noticed signs popping up around the district for "John Cowart for Congress." So who is John Cowart?
According to his brother who is serving as his campaign manager for the time being, John Cowart is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marines currently fighting in Afghanistan who is looking to run for Congress as a Republican when he gets home in February.
"He is definitely running," said Jimmy Cowart, who is a member of the Quorum Court in Miller County. They have formed an exploratory committee and have started raising money although he was not sure of the total they had raised so far. They went ahead and began putting up signs as a way to get his name out. They are also working on getting their website up – Cowart4Congress.com.
Cowart has been in the Marines for the past 20 years since the first Gulf War and is also a policeman in Texarkana. This will be his first run for office.
Another familar name that is thinking about running is former state Rep. Bobby Tullis from Mineral Springs. Tullis was a Democrat when he was a state legislator and ran as a Democrat in 1994 for state auditor losing in the primary to Gus Wingfield. He ran again in 2010 as the Green Party nominee for state treasurer losing to Democratic incumbent Martha Shoffner. He was briefly mentioned running for Congress this cycle as a Republican but now says he may instead run in the new Libertarian Party.
Before it is over, Tullis may end up as a candidate in four different political parties. That has to be a record.
The seat is open as incumbent Democratic Congressman Mike Ross has announced he will not seek re-election next year. Republicans Tom Cotton, Beth Anne Rankin, and Marcus Richmond have announced their plans to run. The last financial filing showed Cotton has raised over $343,000, Rankin raised over $176,000, and Richmond raised over $18,000. The only announced Democratic candidate, State Sen. Gene Jeffress, told the AP a month ago he had not yet raised a penny.