Moved by 9/11, the Harvard Law School grad left a private firm job and joined the Army — not as a JAG officer but rather as an infantryman. He served on active duty for five years, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most recently a consultant at McKinsey & Co., Cotton is the favorite to win the primary.
Still, he has real competition from 2010 nominee Beth Anne Rankin, and it will be hard for him to beat her outright. Adding to the difficulty of a straight win: Another candidate, John Cowart, is also on the GOP ballot.
Whatever happens today, local strategists expect Cotton to be the GOP nominee. Even Arkansas Democrats acknowledge that Cotton, if nominated, is a very strong favorite to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Mike Ross in this strongly GOP-leaning district.
The Democrats running to succeed Ross are attorney Q. Byrum Hurst, state Sen. Gene Jeffress and businessman DC Morrison. A runoff is expected with Hurst and Jeffress the most likely candidates on the June Democratic ballot. The eventual nominee will be the underdog in November.
Kentucky 4th district
This one looks like it’s going to be a squeaker.
The GOP race to replace Davis has seven candidates on the ballot, but only three are real contenders: Lewis County Judge-Executive Thomas Massie, state Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington and Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore. Kentucky strategists see the race coming down to the Paul-backed Massie, who has a lot of tea party support, and Webb- Edgington, who is backed by much of the GOP establishment and has the endorsements of Bunning and Davis.
The voter universe is expected to be small with somewhere around 30,000 to 40,000 voters, so an outcome is tough to predict. But the campaigns of Massie and Webb-Edgington were bullish Monday.
Massie picked up the late endorsement of Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). Meanwhile, Davis has been campaigning hard for Webb-Edgington, going door-to-door to encourage voters to pick her.
Tonight’s results will be another of this cycle’s tests of tea party power.
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