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 CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonRestlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on Senators opt to drink milk on Senate floor during impeachment trial GOP rep introduces bill to block intelligence sharing with countries using Huawei for 5G 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.


“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 WomackDemocrats don't expect to do 2020 budget Tom Cotton's only Democratic rival quits race in Arkansas Lawmakers dismiss fresh fears of another government shutdown 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 PryorTom Cotton's only Democratic rival quits race in Arkansas Medicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation 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.