- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Republican Thomas Cotton emerged victorious in the U.S. Senate race in Arkansas, defeating incumbent Sen. Mark L. Pryor Tuesday and solidifying the GOP’s hold on a state that not long ago was dominated by the Democratic Party. 

His victory was the second GOP pickup of the night, and the networks called the race soon after the polls closed at 8:30 p.m. EST.

Mr. Cotton succeeded in making the election a referendum on President Obama, who is extremely unpopular in Arkansas, as well as Mr. Pryor’s support for the president and his policies.

Mr. Pryor had been running behind Mr. Cotton throughout most of the race. The Democratic senator struggled to distance himself for the president, but ultimately Mr. Pryor was unable to convince voters that he wasn’t doing Mr. Obama’s bidding in Washington.

Mr. Cotton relentlessly hammered Mr. Pryor for voting with Mr. Obama 93 percent of the time and for voting for Obamacare, which also is extremely unpopular in Arkansas.

While Mr. Obama’s job-approval rating has hovered around 40 percent nationwide, his approval-rating in Arkansas hit 31 percent last week with 60 percent disapproving of the president in a Public Policy Policy survey.

Mr. Pryor, who was first elected in 2002, had the benefit of strong political lineage in a state where that can matter a great deal. His father, former governor and U.S. Sen. David Pryor, is a beloved figure in Arkansas.

But family ties were not strong enough to save the younger Mr. Pryor from defeat in a state that has turned increasingly red over the past 20 years.

 

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