Republican candidates captured all four Arkansas Congressional races, the first time in modern Arkansas history that members of all Congressional districts in the state are Republicans.
U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, was heading to an easy reelection win in the 3rd Congressional District, with Tom Cotton, a Republican from Dardanelle, capturing the 4th Congressional District seat.
“I’m very, very, very flattered by the response,” Womack said.
Early vote numbers showed Womack receiving more than 80% of votes cast in Benton County, more than 77% of votes cast in the portion of the 3rd District in Sebastian County, and just short of 65% of early votes cast in Washington County.
With 60 of 75 counties reporting, Womack received 75.7% of the votes in the 3rd District. Cotton won the 4th District with 59.2% of the vote.
On the national front, Womack said it appeared Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is facing “an uphill climb” based on reports as of around 9 p.m. (President Barack Obama did defeat Romney, capturing at least 303 electoral votes. A victory is reached with 270 electoral votes.)
“If it’s not meant to be (for Romney to win), we will still do what we can with the majority we have in the House to advance the agenda we think is right for the country,” Womack said.
He hopes Republican leaders can “find some common ground” with President Obama if he is reelected, and work to “get the country moving in the right direction.”
In the 1st District race, U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, had more than 56.5% of the vote – with 60 of 75 counties reporting – in his bid to win a second term. Democrat Scott Ellington received about 38.7% in the early voting.
U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock, received 55.2% support to win reelection to a second term as the 2nd District Congressman. Democrat Herb Rule received 39.4% of the vote in the district.
Womack, who was heavily favored to win his reelection bid, was all but guaranteed another election victory when Democratic candidate Ken Aden dropped out of the race on July 9, just weeks after the primary election. Aden’s move left the Democratic Party without a chance to enter a candidate.
Aden, who was at the time facing scrutiny related to claims about his military record, said he was exiting the race in order to spend more time with his family and to help ensure victory for Democrats across the state in November.
Womack’s second term in Congress came Tuesday with XX% of the vote. Rebekah Kennedy, with the Green Party, gained XX% and David Pangrac, running as a Libertarian, received XX%.
After serving more than 10 years as the Mayor of Rogers, Womack survived a packed GOP primary in early 2010 after then U.S. Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers, decided to run against U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.
Womack defeated Fayetteville attorney David Whitaker in the 2010 general election .
Cotton, a political rookie, defeated former Miss Arkansas Beth Anne Rankin in the GOP primary. Rankin, who was endorsed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and lost to U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, D-Prescott, in the 2010 Congressional election, was the early favorite because of her name recognition.
He then outraised and outspent Democratic opponent Gene Jeffress to capture the House seat held Ross, who did not seek reelection to the post.
A poll conducted in September by Talk Business-Hendrix College indicated Cotton was headed for an election night victory. In the poll of likely voters, 51% said they would support Cotton, with Jeffress pulling only 22% support.
Cotton was the first Republican to enter the 4th District race and he quickly caught the eye of the National Republican Congressional Committee. In August 2011, Cotton landed on the NRCC “On the Radar” list because he has raised $100,000. Cotton is one of only six Republicans in the their Young Guns program to make this list for 2012.
He was born and raised in Dardanelle where he helped with the work on his family’s cattle farm. The Yell County native graduated with honors from Harvard College. He was moving up in the legal world when Sept. 11 happened.
Cotton joined the U.S. Army after 9-11, and deployed to Baghdad as an Infantry officer with the 101st Airborne. When that rotation ended, Cotton was a platoon leader with the prestigious The Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery where he helped conduct military burials. He returned to combat in 2008 as the operations officer for a counterinsurgency and reconstruction effort in Afghanistan.
He was hired by the global consulting company McKinsey & Company after ending his active duty U.S. Army career. There he consulted with companies involved in agribusiness, health care, oil and gas, food processing, insurance and aerospace. He left the company when he decided to seek the 4th District seat.
Womack and Cotton were elected to Congressional districts significantly redrawn following the 2010 census.
Crawford County will be split almost evenly down the middle with the western half in the 3rd District and the eastern half in the 4th. The city of Alma — about 5,000 people — will be split down the middle, with 2 city precincts voting in the 3rd District and 2 precincts voting in the 4th District.
Franklin County is moved entirely out of the 3rd District and into the 4th District, and Madison County, which is typically associated with the Northwest Arkansas metro area, is also now in the 4th District.
Lavaca and environs in the northeastern corner of Sebastian County are pulled into the 4th District. Roughly one-third of Sebastian County below Greenwood and below Fort Chaffee and Chaffee Crossing will be in the 4th District.
Crawford and Sebastian counties are among only five of 75 Arkansas counties to be divided.
The 3rd District now includes portions of Crawford and Sebastian counties, up into Washington and Benton counties, then east with Carroll, Boone and Marion counties, and dropping south to include the easter portion of Newton County and all of Pope County.