Arkansas Senate: Republican Tom Cotton defeats incumbent Mark Pryor

Mark Pryor lost his bid for reelection to the U.S. Senate in Arkansas. Above, he greets voters in Little Rock on Tuesday.
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

Republican Tom Cotton, a conservative tea party congressman, Army veteran and Harvard Law School graduate, ousted two-term Sen. Mark Pryor on Tuesday as Arkansas joined its Southern neighbors in becoming an all-red state.

Cotton capitalized on voter opposition to President Obama and fended off Pryor’s attacks on his support for conservative policies, including changes to Medicare and Social Security.

Pryor has long been one of the most moderate Democrats in the Senate, and in seeking a third term he sought to distance himself from the White House’s policies. Instead, Pryor relied on campaign trail help from a home-state favorite son, former President Clinton.


Cotton represents the southwestern corner of the state in the House, including the small town of Hope, where Clinton was raised.

Pryor’s father is a popular former governor and senator, and Pryor was elected to his second term six years ago unopposed, winning 80% of the vote. Since then, however, Republicans have claimed the statehouse, the House delegation and the other Senate seat.

Cotton, 37, is likely to be the youngest member of the Senate.

@Lisa Mascaro