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Tom Cotton's only Democratic rival quits race in Arkansas

Tom Cotton's only Democratic rival quits race in Arkansas

The only Democrat who filed papers to challenge Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonSenate mulls changes to .9 trillion coronavirus bill Trump seeks to cement hold on GOP Sunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues MORE (R-Ark.) next year abruptly ended his campaign on Tuesday just hours after the filing deadline passed.

In a statement posted to Facebook and Twitter, Democratic candidate Josh Mahony said an unspecified “family health concern” meant he could no longer devote the time needed to run a competitive campaign.

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“It has been the honor of my life to be able to meet and visit with so many Arkansans over the last six months and hear their voices,” Mahony said in the statement. “It was my sincere hope to be their advocate in Washington, D.C. However, in this moment right now, I need to focus on my family and place their interests first.”

Mahony, a nonprofit executive in Fayetteville, was mounting his second bid for public office. He lost a 2018 run against Rep. Steve WomackStephen (Steve) Allen WomackTrust between lawmakers reaches all-time low after Capitol riots Pelosi announces lawmakers will be fined ,000 if they bypass metal detectors to House floor Cori Bush slams lawmakers who refused to go through metal detector outside House chamber MORE (R-Ark.) by an almost 2-to-1 margin. And his odds against Cotton were not good: Cotton won office in 2014 with 57 percent of the vote, easily defeating former Sen. Mark PryorMark Lunsford PryorEverybody wants Joe Manchin Cotton glides to reelection in Arkansas Live updates: Democrats fight to take control of the Senate MORE (D-Ark.).

But Mahony had raised about $250,000, according to campaign finance reports made to the Federal Election Commission last month. Those reports showed Mahony ended September with $25,000 in the bank.

No other Democrat had filed to challenge Cotton by Tuesday’s midday deadline. Cotton still faces Ricky Harrington, a Libertarian candidate who works for the state corrections department, and Dan Whitfield, who calls himself a progressive independent.

The state Democratic Party told local media outlets it is working with the Secretary of State’s office to figure out whether and how it can get a replacement candidate on the ballot. Michael John Gray, the Democratic chairman, told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette he learned of Mahony’s exit when someone told him about the tweet.