It’s 5:39 p.m. and the Tom Cotton announcement for U.S. Senate is underway in the Dardanelle Community Center.
While it lasts, David Goins at Fox 16 has a livestream.
U.S Rep. Tim Griffin was the first speaker following a prayer. Then came a long introduction from Cotton’s father. There’s an enthusiastic crowd, though not huge crowd. Has the looks of a hometown crowd, not surprising for an event announced first in the local weekly newspaper. He has to explain of course leaving his congressional seat behind after only 7 months to attempt to move up.
UPDATE: Tom Cotton began his talk with warm remarks touching on family ties, local roots, farming, True Grit, sports, the Army, war service (his father’s in Vietnam and his in Iraq).
Then politics: Corrupt politicians are taking your money and wasting it. They are giving out “special privileges and favors” to the “politically connected” and “crony capitalists.” It is funny that he plays on class distinctions — the number of wealthy families in the D.C. area — when some of the wealthiest people in the world have been among his biggest financial contributors.
Then Obamacare. It’s a symbol, he said, “of everything that’s wrong in Washington today.”
Health care is going to be rationed he said, but costs will still go up.
Arkansans deserve a senator who’ll fight for change, he said. Mark Pryor? He characterized him as a career politician who stood up for Barack Obama and voted with him “90 percent of the time.” This was a crowd not warm to Barack Obama. Not diverse racially either.
“Mark Pryor doesn’t put Arkansas first,” Cotton said.
“Stand for me in this election and I will stand for Arkansas in the U.S. Senate,” he said.
UPDATE II: Brian Chilson reports that state Rep. Bruce Westerman will announce his candidacy to succeed Cotton in the 4th District at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Garland County Courthouse. Lt. Gov. Mark Darr is also expected to run. Several Democrats are also considering the race.
UPDATE III: The Cotton campaign statement:
Dardanelle, Arkansas — Arkansas 4th District Congressman Tom Cotton today announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate.
“I joined the Army to serve our country and to defend our freedom overseas,” Cotton said. “That’s why I ran for Congress last year—to serve you and to defend our freedom in Washington—and that’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy to be your United States Senator.
“It’s time to say enough. Arkansans need a senator who will stand with them and stand up to Barack Obama. A senator who will say no more to the crony capitalism, the giveaways, the reckless spending, the unfair taxes, the job-killing regulations, and the concentration of unaccountable, unconstitutional power in Washington. Arkansans need a senator who won’t just stand by and accept the status quo. I will be that senator.”
A full text of Cotton’s announcement speech can be found here: http://www.tomcotton.com/2013/08/tom-cotton-announces-u-s-senate-campaign/
ALSO: Go to the jump for notes from the scene by Benjamin Hardy