Tom Cotton

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Tom Cotton
Tom Cotton.jpg
U.S. House, Arkansas, District 4
In office
January 3, 2013-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 2
PredecessorMike Ross (D)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
First electedNovember 6, 2012
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$2,213,218
Term limitsN/A
High schoolDardanelle High School
Bachelor'sHarvard College
J.D.Harvard Law School
Military service
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service2004-2009
Date of birthMay 13, 1977
Place of birthDardanelle, AR
Net worth$282,501
Office website
Campaign website
Tom Cotton (b. May 13, 1977 in Dardanelle, Arkansas) is a Republican member of the U.S. House representing Arkansas's 4th congressional district. He was first elected in 2012. Cotton defeated John Cowart and Beth Anne Rankin in the May 22 Republican primary. He then overtook Gene Jeffress (D) in the general election on November 6, 2012.

Cotton is considered a potential 2014 Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mark Pryor. Pryor is running for re-election in 2014.[1]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Cotton is an average Republican member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Republican Party on the majority of bills.


Cotton received a bachelor's degree from Harvard College. He went on to earn his law degree from Harvard Law School. After completing school, he was a clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals. He then worked as a private practice attorney.

Cotton joined the United States Army and served five years of active duty. He then worked as a management consultant for McKinsey and Company.


Below is an abbreviated outline of Cotton's academic, professional and political career[2]:

  • 1998: Graduated from Harvard University with B.A.
  • 2002: Graduated from Harvard University with J.D.
  • 2002-2003: Clerk, U.S. Court of Appeals
  • 2004-2009: United States Army Officer
  • 2010-2011: Management consultant, McKinsey & Co
  • 2013-Present: Member of the U.S. House, representing Arkansas's 4th district

Committee Assignments

U.S. House


Cotton serves on the following committees:[3]


Campaign website


Cotton's campaign website listed the following issues:[4]

  • Defend the Constitution
Excerpt: "As an Army officer, I took an oath of office to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and I administered that oath to many soldiers. I will proudly take the same oath as your congressman..."
  • Promote Job Creation
Excerpt: "Beware of politicians who promise to create jobs, because only businesses and entrepreneurs—not politicians—can create jobs."
  • Stop the Spending and Cut the Debt
Excerpt: "Our country faces a debt crisis because of Washington’s reckless spending and borrowing. The federal debt is now $15 trillion, the size of the entire American economy."
  • Reduce and Simplify Taxes
Excerpt: "Our taxes are too high and too complicated. The individual and corporate tax codes distort the financial decisions of individuals and businesses, leading them to base spending, investment, and saving on tax considerations, not economic benefits."
  • Repeal and Replace ObamaCare
Excerpt: "ObamaCare is a job-killer, a health-care disaster, and an assault on liberty. I will fight to repeal and replace ObamaCare with free-market reforms that empower patients and doctors to make health-care decisions."
  • Secure Energy Independence
Excerpt: "America has the world’s largest fossil-fuel reserves in the world. I view our fossil fuels as a valuable asset to be used, not an embarrassing liability to be restrained. In Congress, I will support policies that unleash our energy producers, put America on the path to energy independence, and reduce our dependence on unreliable and hostile countries."
  • Protect National Security
Excerpt: "The foremost responsibility of the federal government is to provide for the common defense."
  • Secure the Border and Enforce Immigration Laws
Excerpt: "America is a nation of immigrants, but it is also a nation of laws. Our federal government is failing at a core duty: protecting our borders and enforcing our immigration laws. In Congress, I will oppose amnesty in all forms, fight to secure our borders, and improve enforcement of the immigration laws."
  • Promote Parental and Local Control in Education
Excerpt: "In Congress, I will work to empower parents with better information and more options to make the right choices for their children’s education and I will work to restore local control over our educational system."
  • Uphold the Second Amendment
Excerpt: "I will always defend our Second Amendment rights in Congress. As a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, my soldiers and I kept our rifles and guns within arms’ reach because of a fundamental truth: at critical moments, your life depends on being armed and ready to defend yourself."
  • Defend Traditional Values
Excerpt: "Strong families are the cornerstones of a strong, free, and prosperous country. As your congressman, I will work to strengthen families and I will stand up for the traditional values I learned growing up on my family’s farm."
  • Honor Veterans
Excerpt: "I understand personally the sacrifices of our veterans and I will always ensure that we honor their service and patriotism."



See also: United States Senate elections in Arkansas, 2014

Cotton is considered a potential 2014 Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mark Pryor. Pryor is running for re-election in 2014.[5]


See also: Arkansas' 4th congressional district elections, 2012

Cotton won the 2012 election for the U.S. House, representing Arkansas's 4th District. He defeated John Cowart and Beth Anne Rankin in the May 22 Republican primary. He then defeated Gene Jeffress (D) in the general election on November 6, 2012.[6][7]

U.S. House, Arkansas District 4 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Gene Jeffress 36.7% 95,013
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngTom Cotton 59.5% 154,149
     Green Joshua Drake 1.9% 4,807
     Libertarian Bobby Tullis 1.9% 4,984
Total Votes 258,953
Source: Arkansas Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

U.S. House, Arkansas District 4 Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngTom Cotton 57.6% 20,899
Beth Anne Rankin 37.1% 13,460
John Cowart 5.4% 1,953
Total Votes 36,312

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Cotton is available dating back to 2012. Based on available campaign finance records, Cotton raised a total of $2,213,218 during that time period. This information was last updated on March 22, 2013.[8]

Tom Cotton's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 US House (Arkansas, District 4) Won $2,213,218
Grand Total Raised $2,213,218


Breakdown of the source of Cotton's campaign funds before the 2012 election.

Cotton won election to the U.S. House in 2012. During that election cycle, Cotton's campaign committee raised a total of $2,213,218 and spent $2,094,867.[9]


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Cotton is a "rank-and-file Republican" as of June 4, 2013.[10]

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Cotton missed 1 of 89 roll call votes from January 2013 to March 2013. This amounts to 1.1%, which is better than the median of 2.2% among current congressional representatives as of March 2013.[11]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by - The Center for Responsive Politics, Cotton's net worth as of 2011 was estimated between $165,003 and $400,000. That averages to $282,501, which is lower than the average net worth of Republican Representatives in 2011 of $7,859,232.[12]

Voting with party


The website Open Congress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus. According to the website, Salmon has voted with the Republican Party 94.3% of the time. This ranked 184th among the 233 House Republicans as of June 2013.[13]

Recent news

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Political offices
Preceded by
Mike Ross
U.S. House - Arkansas District 4
Succeeded by