Senate

Cotton glides to reelection in Arkansas

Bonnie Cash

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton (R) has won his bid for reelection, easily beating Libertarian candidate Ricky Dale Harrington Jr.

The Associated Press called the race when polls closed at 8:30 p.m.

Cotton first became senator in 2014 after defeating Democratic incumbent Mark Pryor. The only prospective Democratic challenger in 2020, Josh Mahoney, withdrew his bid for candidacy hours after the Arkansas deadline passed, citing family health issues.

This sequence of events left a clear path to victory for Cotton, leading the senator to campaign for other GOP candidates in key battleground states such as Iowa and New Hampshire during the election season.

Cotton drew criticism this year when The New York Times published an op-ed by him in which he called for “an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers” during the riots that occurred during some protests following George Floyd’s death after a police officer knelt on his neck over the summer. In the essay he referred to rioters as “miscreants” and “nihilist criminals.”

The op-ed drew widespread condemnation from advocates. New York Times opinion editor James Bennett later resigned from his position in light of the controversy.

“The basic arguments advanced by Senator Cotton — however objectionable people may find them — represent a newsworthy part of the current debate,” said The New York Times in a subsequent editor’s note. “But given the life-and-death importance of the topic, the senator’s influential position and the gravity of the steps he advocates, the essay should have undergone the highest level of scrutiny. Instead, the editing process was rushed and flawed, and senior editors were not sufficiently involved.”

Tags 2020 election Arkansas Mark Pryor Tom Cotton

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