U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., easily won re-election Tuesday, while U.S. Reps. Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman were well ahead in their re-election efforts. The Associated Press called the race for Cotton not long after the polls closed at 7:30 p.m.
Cotton was leading with 66.5% of the vote facing only Libertarian candidate Ricky Dale Harrington. In unofficial results from the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office, Cotton had 776,279 votes while Harrington had 389,840.
Republican incumbents also enjoyed big leads in the 3rd and 4th Congressional Districts. In the 3rd District representing Northwest Arkansas, U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, led with 64.5% of the vote. Democrat Celeste Williams had 31.5%, while Libertarian Michael Kalagias had 4%.
In the sprawling, heavily rural 4th Congressional District covering much of southern and western Arkansas, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, won with 69.5% of the vote. Democrat William Hanson had 27.5%, while Libertarian Frank Gilbert had 3%.
In the 1st District covering eastern and northern Arkansas, U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, did not face opposition.
President Donald Trump also easily carried Arkansas, as expected, with 62.5% of the vote. That eclipsed his 60.5% margin in 2016. Democrat Joe Biden received 34.7% of the vote, while a number of third party candidates split the remaining votes, according to the Secretary of State’s unofficial results.
The outcome of the U.S. Senate race was never in doubt. Cotton had amassed a war chest of more than $12.2 million as of Oct. 14, 2020, but he didn’t need to spend it in Arkansas or even campaign much here. The only Democratic Party candidate, Josh Mahony, dropped out of the race after the filing period closed, leaving only Harrington, whom Cotton ignored. Cotton campaigned for Republican Senate candidates in other states and skipped a televised debate with Harrington on Arkansas PBS, giving Harrington the full hour of airtime by himself.
Cotton is widely considered a potential Republican candidate for president in 2024. Harrington, who had raised a little more than $68,000 by Oct. 14, in October released a poll funded by his campaign that showed him trailing Cotton by a relatively close 49%-38%.
But later polls by independent organizations told a different story. A poll released Oct. 19 by Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College found Cotton leading, 62.5% to 27.5% with 10% undecided. The annual Arkansas poll by University of Arkansas political science professor Dr. Janine Perry showed Cotton with an even bigger lead of 75%-20%.