Duggars open to stumping for Cotton in Arkansas

Arkansas’ Republican Senate candidate could have 19 surrogates and counting if Michelle Duggar and her sizeable brood engage in the race, as the reality TV star suggested they could on Wednesday.

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Speaking to The Hill at the anti-abortion March for Life rally, Duggar, the matriarch of the prodigious Arkansas family that’s the focal point of TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” said she expects her family to be active in this year’s election cycle.

“We have been and we will continue to be active in our communities, in our state and even on the national level because we believe it’s important to have people that represent our values,” she said.

Asked specifically whether the family would engage in any upcoming congressional races, Duggar suggested it was likely.

“We definitely are going to be active on the local levels and the state level, and then we will pray, as we see the candidates come forward, we’ll just pray that God will give us the wisdom on what to do in that regard, so I wouldn’t be surprised” she said.

Arkansas Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor is, most observers agree, Democrats’ most vulnerable incumbent.

And while Duggar declined to overtly back the GOP’s only candidate in the race, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), she didn’t shut the door on the possibility of an endorsement.

“We’re behind the pro-lifers and so you can be sure when there’s a pro-lifer, we’re gonna be behind him,” she said.

The Duggars aren’t strangers to the campaign trail — Michelle and her husband, Jim Bob, stumped for losing Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli last year.

Jim Bob Duggar previously served in the Arkansas House of Representatives, and ran for U.S. Senate and Arkansas Senate in 2002 and 2006, so the family is connected to the local political community.

And Republicans hope to make Pryor’s position on abortion an issue for him in the deep-red state.

Pryor has previously said he’s in favor of abortion rights, but his position has evolved over the years. In April of last year, he told an Arkansas news outlet that “I’ve always leaned toward the pro-life side of that, but I don’t fit neatly into any of the categories.” He’s been asked on multiple occasions about a controversial bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks and hasn't yet weighed in, as he's said he hasn't had a chance to look at the bill.

Cotton’s campaign spokesman David Ray highlighted Pryor’s silence on the issue in a release issued Wednesday, on the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

"Arkansans support a culture of life and policies that reflect those values. But Senator Mark Pryor doesn't, and he won't even be open and honest with the people he supposedly represents. As we approach the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, it's important that Senator Pryor finally tell Arkansans why he won't stand for life in the U.S. Senate,” Ray said.

--This piece was updated to reflect Pryor's position on the 20-week abortion bill.