Arkansas state Sen. Bruce Maloch, a Democrat, is eyeing Arkansas' 4th District — but only under one condition.
"If the seat is open, I'd definitely be interested in looking at it," Maloch said in a telephone interview with CQ Roll Call on Thursday night. But if it's not, he added, he's "probably not interested in pursuing it."
Freshman Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., represents the 4th District. Maloch, like many Razorback State politicos, has heard increasing speculation that Cotton might run against Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor in 2014.
Cotton's chief of staff, Doug Coutts, did not immediately return a phone call late Thursday. Coutts had no comment on the Senate bid speculation last month.
After three terms in the state House, Maloch is serving his first term as a state senator. He described himself as "a Blue Dog Democrat" and mentioned his work on budgetary issues in the legislature. He spoke about the "challenging problems in Washington" and said he was interested in being a voice for fiscal responsibility.
Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., held this district for 12 years until he retired at the end of the 112th Congress. Cotton, a rising star even before he came to Congress, had no trouble picking up the seat. He won with nearly 60 percent of the vote. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney fared even better on the top of the ticket, winning about 62 percent of the vote in the district.
Still, in a non-presidential year in an open seat, Democrats might have better luck. Asked about the state's and district's red hue, Maloch said he was aware of political reality.
"Of course our whole state is swinging Republican," he said. But he insisted that there were many voters who were looking for candidates — Republican and Democratic — who could reach across the aisle and get things done.
The news of Maloch's interest in the seat was first reported by Talk Business Arkansas.