Beloved New GOP Superstar Will Run for Senate in Arkansas

Will the Washington Monument be refurbished by the time Tom Cotton enters (or doesn’t enter) the Senate?

Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

Months before he won a primary, let alone a seat in Congress, Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton was tipped as a future savior of the GOP. The Weekly Standard and National Review profiled him at length, this humble, Harvard-educated veteran of America’s post-9/11 wars. Cotton, at age 36, can march onto the floor of the House and shut down libertarians like no one else.* When Alexander Burns asked Bill Kristol whether the Rand Paul wing of the party was ascendent, Kristol’s answer was: “I think Christie-Cotton is much more likely in 2016 than Paul-Amash.”

Well, now this is happening:

A person who has spoken with Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton says the freshman Republican congressman will announce next week that he’s challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor.

Cotton scheduled an event with supporters next Tuesday in his hometown of Dardanelle.

Democrats have attempted to pre-empt a Cotton campaign with ads defending Pryor; the Club for Growth has answered with polling proving that Cotton could win. In 2002 Pryor was tasked with unseating a Republican incumbent (Tim Hutchinson) who’d divorced his wife and married in aide; in 2008 no Republican wanted to run against him. Since then, the state GOP has taken over the legislature for the first time in more than a century.

*Correction, July 31, 2013: This post originally misstated Tom Cotton’s age.