Republican Tom Cotton wins U.S. Senate seat in Arkansas

Republican Tom Cotton reacts after the results of the midterm elections in North Little Rock, Arkansas, November 4, 2014. Cotton has won the U.S. Senate race in Arkansas giving the Republicans an important prize as they try to win control of that chamber, CNN projected on Tuesday. REUTERS/Jacob Slaton
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By Steve Barnes LITTLE ROCK Ark. (Reuters) - Republican Tom Cotton has won the U.S. Senate race in Arkansas, ousting incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor and giving the Republicans an important prize that helped them win control of that chamber, Reuters/Ipsos projected on Tuesday. Cotton, 37, a first-term U.S. representative and Iraq war veteran, ran a campaign linking Pryor to President Barack Obama, who is deeply unpopular in Arkansas. The victory means Arkansas will have two Republican senators for the first time in more than 130 years. Cotton, a Harvard Law School graduate, won despite a late campaign push for Pryor from other Democrats, including former President Bill Clinton, who was an Arkansas governor and still has a strong following in his home state. Cotton, who has described himself as a man in a hurry, attacked Pryor for his support of one of the Obama administration's centerpiece policies, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. "A government big enough to grant everything is big enough to take away everything," he told supporters at a victory rally. Arkansas drew up its own, bipartisan version of Obamacare, with 200,000 previously uninsured residents enrolling in the state's plan, which uses federal funds to subsidize health coverage purchased from private carriers. Pryor, 51, is a third-generation Arkansas politician whose father, David Pryor, served as a congressman, governor and U.S. senator. In another major race in Arkansas, Republican U.S. Representative Asa Hutchinson, who helped prosecute the impeachment case against Clinton in 1998 and 1999, was projected to win the governor's race. He will replace incumbent Mike Beebe, a Democrat, who was unable to seek a third term because of term limits imposed after Clinton led the state. (Reporting by Steve Barnes in Little Rock, Ark., and Anna Yukhananov and Susan Cornwell in Washington; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Peter Cooney and Eric Beech)

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