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Cotton Closes Gap in Arkansas House Primary

1:06 PM, Apr 20, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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It's been a good week for Republican House candidate Tom Cotton. Cotton, a former Army officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, announced earlier this week that he had raised $350,000 for the first quarter, far outraising his Republican opponents running in Arkansas's Fourth Congressional District. Cotton has raised a total of $890,000 so far. The Cotton campaign has also picked up endorsements from national conservative groups like Citizens United and Gun Owners of America.

Now, a new poll from Talk Business, an Arkansas current affairs television program, and Hendrix College shows Cotton tied with his chief GOP opponent, Beth Anne Rankin, at 38.5 percent. That's a big swing for Cotton since the last public poll of the race, taken in November 2011, which showed him to be virtually unknown and polling at two percent. Nineteen percent of those polled in the district remain undecided.

Here's more from Talk Business:

The only other publicly released polling conducted in the race was a November 2011 internal poll put forth by the Rankin campaign. In that survey of 400 likely GOP voters, Rankin had 40% support to 3% for Cotton. Cowart and former candidate Marcus Richmond had 2% each, while undecided voters polled at 54%.

Rankin won the 2010 GOP primary and challenged incumbent Rep. Mike Ross, D-Prescott.  However, Ross won re-election to Congress handily, 58%-40%, in a year when Republicans made historic gains at all levels in Arkansas. Ross announced he would not seek another term last summer.

The primary will be held on May 22.

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