Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who is up for re-election in 2020, has emerged as a close ally and staunch defender of President Donald Trump. And it looks like he’ll be around for a while.
According to Breitbart, Cotton will be running virtually unopposed to retain his Senate seat in 2020 after his sole challenger quit the race abruptly on Tuesday.
In May, a Democratic Senate candidate from Arkansas named Joshua Mahony — who failed miserably in a bid to unseat Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) in 2018 — announced that he would run against Sen. Cotton in 2020. The only Democrat to step up as a challenger to Cotton, Mahony described himself as a long-time “small business owner” who, presumably, would be able to appeal across the aisle in what has become a bright red, Republican-dominated state in recent years.
But his claim of being a small business owner soon came under serious question — and that wasn’t the only problem for Mahony. Just one hour after the deadline, the Arkansas GOP filed a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging campaign finance violations.
Waiting until after the filing deadline for new candidates to inform the media about the “inaccuracies” in Mahony’s claims means no other Democrat can enter the race — and Cotton will run unopposed by a major party candidate.
“Today, the Republican Party of Arkansas called on the FEC to investigate repeated campaign finance misstatements by Democrat Joshua Mahony and his campaign for the United States Senate,” the state GOP said in a statement. “Democrat Joshua Mahony likes to tell Arkansans that he is a ‘small business owner’ or that he is ‘in the energy business,’ but, as reported by the [Arkansas] Democrat-Gazette in September, Mahony owns no small business and can’t remember the last time he was employed.”
Indeed, the Democrat-Gazette had issued a devastating report in September documenting numerous miscues by Mahony and his campaign, such as inaccurate biographical information on his website and several “errors and omissions” on his required financial disclosure forms, which were amended no less than four times in two days as he scrambled to make corrections after reporters began asking questions.
The biggest issue was Mahony’s claim that he was an executive at a family-owned energy company; records showed he’d sold his partnership in that firm and family members at the business declined to answer questions and seemed to distance themselves from him.
On top of all of that, Mahony, whose wife is a senior executive at Walmart, couldn’t even recall the last time he’d been gainfully employed. Some of his amended disclosure forms appeared to show that he was claiming assets and property that were formerly listed as solely belonging to his wife.
It all proved too much for Mahony, it seems. Two hours after the deadline for a different Democratic challenger to enter the race, Mahony released a statement — citing an undisclosed “family health concern” — announcing that he was ending his campaign for Cotton’s Senate seat.
Now, a “source close to Cotton” says that the senator “is going to campaign for Republicans in Arkansas and across the country to make sure President Trump is re-elected and the open borders socialists don’t take over the Senate,” according to Breitbart.
This all but guarantees that Republicans will retain their seat in Arkansas, while also freeing up Sen. Cotton to focus more of his time on helping his Republican colleagues — including President Trump — as they seek re-election in 2020. This is nothing short of a win for the GOP.