Arkansas 4th District Now in Play
Congressman Mike Ross has held the seat in the fourth Congressional district of Arkansas since 2000. He decided not to seek re-election this year after winning 58% of the vote in 2010. Seeing this as a district that could turn red in 2012, three Republican candidates sought the nomination. Among them was Beth Anne Rankin, who won the Republcian nomination in 2008 and 2010.
This time, the voters in that district are going with Tom Cotton. Cotton is an Iraq war veteran and Harvard educated lawyer who is only 35 years old. Cotton, has been endorsed by a number of right wing websites and is gaining traction in the district.
However, the biggest issues facing the Democrats is not their Republican opponent, but the lack of a solid candidate and the sinking popularity of current policies in the largely agricultural area of the state. Current State Senator Gene Jeffress won the Democratic nomination on Tuesday despite having a website that still says "Default Page for Gene Jeffress for Congress." That doesn't say a lot about the activity of Democratic voters when the winning candidate is elected without a viable platform. Maybe Mr Jeffress got off toa late start, but now he's months behind Cotton in the campaign.
Still, Jeffress has been in office since 1999 and should have at least some name recognition. However, listening to what is available of the Republican debates, the recent moves by the agricutural department of the Obama administration to prevent the operation of farm equipment by those under the age of 16 and others has left Mr Jeffress with a steep up hill climb to November.
This district has been changed from a solid or leaning Democrat district to a toss up.