United States Senate elections in Arkansas, 2014

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2014 U.S. Senate Elections in Arkansas

General Election Date
November 4, 2014

Primary Date
May 20, 2014

November 4 Election Winner:
Incumbent prior to election:
Mark Pryor Democratic Party
Mark Pryor.jpg

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2014 U.S. House Elections

Flag of Arkansas.png
Voters in Arkansas will elect one member to the U.S. Senate in the election on November 4, 2014.

Incumbent Mark Pryor holds one of the most vulnerable Senate seats going into the 2014 election. He is a Democrat seeking re-election in a red state that has voted Republican in the last three presidential elections. This, combined with the unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act makes this a tough re-election cycle for Pryor.[1]

Pryor will face Representative Tom Cotton (R) in the general election in November. As of May 2014, polling shows Pryor with a slight edge over Cotton. Pryor also leads the challenger in cash-on-hand with $4,147,607 to Cotton's $2,364,036 as of the FEC's Pre-Primary reports.[2][3]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
March 3, 2014
May 20, 2014
November 4, 2014

Primary: Arkansas is one of 14 states that uses an open primary system, in which registered voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party's primary.[4][5][6]

Voter registration: To vote in the primary, voters had to register to by April 20, 2014. For the general election, the voter registration deadline is October 5, 2014.[7]

See also: Arkansas elections, 2014

Incumbent: The election will fill the Senate seat currently held by Mark Pryor (D). Pryor was first elected in 2002 and is running for re-election in 2014. Pryor is currently the only Democratic member in Arkansas' congressional delegation.


General election candidates

Democratic Party Mark Pryor
Republican Party Tom Cotton
Libertarian Party Nathan LaFrance
Green Party Mark Swaney

May 20, 2014, primary results

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Republican Party Republican Primary

Libertarian Party Libertarian Convention

Green Party Green Party Convention

Race background

Arkansas's senate seat currently held by Mark Pryor, a Democrat in a red state, is considered to be one of the most vulnerable in the country. The state has become increasingly Republican since Bill Clinton was governor, having voted for George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney in the last three presidential elections. Pryor's seat is also the only remaining seat held by a Democrat in the state's congressional delegation.[1]

Additionally, the unpopularity of President Obama's healthcare mandate, combined with its poor implementation thus far, is likely to be a major issue that Pryor will have to overcome in order to win re-election.

On April 13, 2014, challenger Tom Cotton called for a series of five debates with incumbent Mark Pryor. He proposed holding debates in five different regions of Arkansas without moderators asking questions. Cotton said, "There used to be a time in our politics when voters could look the two candidates in the eye and hear from them directly — that's what I'm inviting Senator Pryor to participate in today." Pryor's campaign issued the following response, "Mark looks forward to debating Congressman Cotton at the appropriate time."[9]

Hobby Lobby Supreme Court ruling

After being asked about Supreme Court's ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, Cotton responded "It's another example of how Obamacare infringes on the liberties of all Arkansans. Barack Obama and Mark Pryor think that faith is something that only happens at 11:00 on Sunday mornings. That's when we worship but faith is what we live every single day. And the government shouldn't infringe on the rights of religious liberty. So I'm pleased with the Supreme Court's ruling but it's just another example of why Obamacare is bad for Arkansas."[10]

Pryor responded to the statement with his own saying, "I’m disappointed in Congressman Cotton’s deeply personal attack on me. He and I may disagree on issues, but for him to question my faith is out of bounds. From a young age I have never shied away from talking about the importance of God in my life, and it’s my Christian faith that gives me comfort and guidance to be a steady voice for Arkansas in the Senate."[10]

Cotton then sent the following statement to The Hill, "Senator Pryor is a man of faith, which I respect. That's why it's so disappointing that Senator Pryor still defends Obamacare even after the Supreme Court said it violated freedom of religion. Senator Pryor supports taxpayer funding for abortion and would force Christians to pay for abortions despite their deeply held religious beliefs. That's a real attack on faith."[10]

Food stamps

Tom Cotton compared food stamp recipients to drug addicts during a tele-town hall meeting on July 8, 2014. Cotton said, "I don’t think that we should be using farmers as a way to pack more welfare spending into Barack Obama’s government. Nor should we have a food stamp program that isn’t reformed, that doesn’t have job training and work requirements, that doesn't have drug testing requirements, so we can get people who are addicted the help they need. Or make sure that long-term addicts or recidivists are not abusing taxpayer dollars."[11]

Campaign spending

American Crossroads reserved $1.75 million in airtime to oppose incumbent Mark Pryor.[12]

Race ratings

Most vulnerable seats

The FiscalTimes compiled a list of the seven most vulnerable Senate seats up for election in 2014. The seven included in the list are: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia. Going into the 2014 election, all seven seats are held by Democrats.[13]

Washington Post top 10 races

According to an analysis by The Washington Post, the U.S. Senate election in Arkansas is considered one of the top 10 Senate races of 2014. As of late 2013, Pryor still remained one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents up for re-election.[14]


Tom Cotton

Cotton was endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Businesses. NFIB Vice President Lisa Goeas said, "Our members support the members of Congress who support small business, and Congressman Cotton’s record speaks for itself."[15]


Mark Pryor vs. Tom Cotton
Poll Mark Pryor Tom CottonUnsure/OtherDeclined to answerMargin of ErrorSample Size
Gravis Marketing (July 8-9, 2014)
OnMessage Inc. (May 6-8, 2014)
Marist Poll (May 2014)
Public Policy Polling (April 25-27, 2014)
Harper Polling (April 17, 2014)
Talk Business Research and Hendrix College (April 3-4, 2014)
Anzalone Liszt Grove Research (March 27-April 2, 2014)
Impact Management Group (February 12, 2014)
Rasmussen Reports (February 4-5, 2014)
Public Policy Polling (December 13-15, 2013)
Inc./WomanTrend. (December 6-7, 2013)
Harper Polling (September 24-26, 2013)
Conservative Intel (August 4-5, 2013)
AFSCME (July 23-27, 2013)
AVERAGES 43.32% 43.18% 12.07% 0.36% +/-3.74 715.36
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org

Key votes

Below are important votes the current incumbent cast during the 113th Congress.

Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Voted "Yes" During the shutdown in October 2013, the Senate rejected, down party lines, every House-originated bill that stripped the budget of funding for the Affordable Care Act. A deal was reached late on October 16, 2013, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The bill to reopen the government, H.R. 2775, lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[16] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Mark Pryor voted with the Democratic Party for the bill.[17]

Campaign contributions

Candidate Ballot Access
Ballot Access Requirements Final.jpg

Find detailed information on ballot access requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.

Mark Pryor

Mark Pryor (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[18]April 18, 2013$1,734,136.82$1,923,657.71$(239,097.21)$3,418,697.32
July Quarterly[19]July 15, 2013$3,418,697.32$1,204,480.45$(701,907.90)$3,921,269.87
October Quarterly[20]October 15, 2013$3,921,269.87$1,067,818.04$(570,319.18)$4,418,768.73
Year-End[21]January 31, 2014$4,418,768$1,115,829$(1,325,311)$4,209,286
April Quarterly[22]April 22, 2014$4,209,286$1,222,859$(1,006,397)$4,425,748
Pre-Primary[23]May 8, 2014$4,425,748$337,409$(615,550)$4,147,607
Running totals

Tom Cotton

Tom Cotton (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[24]April 15, 2013$118,350$526,515$(84,386)$560,479
July Quarterly[25]July 15, 2013$560,479$611,341$(126,448)$1,045,372
October Quarterly[26]October 14, 2013$1,045,372$1,071,561$(311,696)$1,805,237
Year-End[27]January 31, 2014$1,805,237$1,241,256$(815,700)$2,231,063
April Quarterly[28]April 15, 2014$2,231,063$1,358,200$(868,433)$2,720,830
Pre-Primary[29]May 8, 2014$2,720,830$571,090$(927,883)$2,364,036
Running totals


Mark Pryor

August 2013 ad attacking Tom Cotton

Ad attacking Tom Cotton over gov. shutdown

AUFC ad attacking Tom Cotton about bank loopholes

Ad focused on Pryor's faith

Ad attacking Cotton's record on Medicare

Ad attacking Cotton's record on Medicare

Patriot Majority USA ad attacking Cotton

Patriot Majority USA ad attacking Cotton

Senate Majority PAC ad attacking Tom Cotton

Senate Majority PAC ad attacking Tom Cotton

NEA ad attacking Cotton for wanting to end student loan programs

Tom Cotton

Club for Growth ad attacking Mark Pryor

October 2013 ad attacking Mark Pryor on Obamacare

Tom Cotton for Senate: Infantry

Marco Rubio funded ad promoting Tom Cotton

Americans for Prosperity ad attacking Obamacare

Americans for Prosperity ad attacking Obamacare

Ad defending Tom Cotton from Democratic attack ad

Ad responding to remarks made by Pryor

Tom Cotton - Jealous

Government Integrity Fund Action Network ad

Club for Growth ad attacking Pryor and Obamacare

American Crossroads ad attacking Pryor

Election history


On November 2, 2010, John Boozman won election to the United States Senate. He defeated incumbent Blanche L. Lincoln (D), Trevor Drown (I) and John Laney Gray, III (G) in the general election.[30]

U.S. Senate, Arkansas General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Boozman 57.9% 451,618
     Democratic Blanche L. Lincoln incumbent 37% 288,156
     Independent Trevor Drown 3.2% 25,234
     Green John Laney Gray, III 1.9% 14,430
Total Votes 779,438


On November 4, 2008, Mark Pryor won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Rebekah Kennedy (G) in the general election.[31]

U.S. Senate, Arkansas General Election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMark Pryor incumbent 79.5% 804,678
     Green Rebekah Kennedy 20.5% 207,076
Total Votes 1,011,754

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 npr, "In Arkansas, The Senate Battle Is Already Brutal," August 26, 2013
  2. Federal Election Commission, "Mark Pryor Pre-Primary," accessed May 12, 2014
  3. Federal Election Commission, "Tom Cotton Pre-Primary," accessed May 12, 2014
  4. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
  5. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  6. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013 through January 3, 2014 researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
  7. Arkansas Secretary of State Website, "Voter Registration Information," accessed January 3, 2014
  8. Fox News, "Arkansas Rep. Cotton leaves the door open for Senate run in 2014," January 25, 2013
  9. Daily Journal, "US Rep. Tom Cotton calls for 5 debates with Sen. Mark Pryor in race for US Senate in Arkansas," April 13, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Arkansas Times, " Tom Cotton: "Mark Pryor thinks that faith is something that only happens on Sunday mornings."," July 2, 2014
  11. Huffington Post, "GOP Senate Candidate Tom Cotton Calls Food Stamp Recipients 'Addicts'," July 17, 2014
  12. Politico, "Crossroads plans $10 million midterm blitz," May 19, 2014
  13. Fiscal Times, "7 Senate Seats Most at Risk—Hint: They’re All Blue" accessed February 15, 2013
  14. The Washington Post, "The Fix’s top 10 Senate races of 2014," accessed December 10, 2013
  15. Arkansas News, "Small-business group endorses Cotton," July 1, 2014
  16. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  17. Senate.gov, "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  18. Federal Election Commission, "Mark Pryor April Quarterly," accessed July 22, 2013
  19. Federal Election Commission, "Mark Pryor July Quarterly," accessed July 22, 2013
  20. Federal Election Commission, "Mark Pryor October Quarterly," accessed October 28, 2013
  21. Federal Election Commission, "Mark Pryor Year-End," accessed February 14, 2014
  22. Federal Election Commission, "Mark Pryor April Quarterly," accessed April 29, 2014
  23. Federal Election Commission, "Mark Pryor Pre-Primary," accessed May 12, 2014
  24. Federal Election Commission, "Tom Cotton April Quarterly," accessed July 23, 2013
  25. Federal Election Commission, "Tom Cotton July Quarterly," accessed July 23, 2013
  26. Federal Election Commission, "Tom Cotton October Quarterly," accessed October 28, 2013
  27. Federal Election Commission, "Tom Cotton Year-End," accessed February 14, 2014
  28. Federal Election Commission, "Tom Cotton April Quarterly," accessed April 29, 2014
  29. Federal Election Commission, "Tom Cotton Pre-Primary," accessed May 12, 2014
  30. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
  31. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013