Army reservist Tom Cotton appears positioned to defeat Beth Anne Rankin, an aide to former-Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), in Tuesday's House Republican Primary in Arkansas. If he does, it will be a victory for the fiscally conservative Club for Growth, a Cotton campaign backer and longtime Huckabee foe.
Rankin, a onetime Miss Arkansas, was the GOP standard bearer in the 2010 race against Rep. Mike Ross (D), who is retiring this year. Although Rankin has the support of Huckabee in her repeat run this year, she hasn't been able to raise the money she needs to tout the connection.
The Club's network of donors, meanwhile, has raised more than $1 million to fund television ads for Cotton across Arizona's fourth congressional district, providing him with the edge he needed to overtake Rankin in the polls.
An April poll by Hendrix College showed Cotton with an 18-point lead over Rankin, up from a virtual tie in a poll taken last May, before any money had been spent on advertising.
The race in Arkansas marks just the most recent conflict between Huckabee allies and the Club, a grudge match that dates back as far as 2006. National Journal reports on its origins:
It's no secret that Huckabee and Club have had a tense relationship over the years. In 2006, when Huckabee, as governor of Arkansas, signed a minimum wage increase into law, the Club was critical of the move, and Huckabee, in turn, was reproachful. In 2008, the group continued to blast Huckabee during his presidential run.
The third candidate in the race is former Marine John Cowart (R). If the lead Republican candidate garners less than 50 percent of the vote on Tuesday night, the race will be decided in a runoff on June 12.
10 more election stories from beyond the presidential field:
Connie Mack Wants Federal Investigation of Charlie Crist Appointment Of George LeMieux [Sunshine State News]
Hatch Primary Opponent Challenges Him To More Debates [Utah Policy]
Pro-Life Women’s Group Backs Deb Fischer In Nebraska [LifeNews.com]
Puerto Rico Gov. Backs Connie Mack [The Miami Herald]
Ben Quayle Hits Opponent On National Defense Issues In Arizona Race [The Tucson Citizen]
Tea Party Candidate Distances Himself From Republicans In Maine Senate Race [The Morning Sentinel]
Kentucky House Race Pits Old Guard Republicans Against Tea Party [The Hill]
Elizabeth Warren MIA In Central Mass. [GoLocalWorcester.com]
South Dakota Rep. Under Fire For Poor Attendance [The Argus Leader]
New Hampshire Republicans Divided Over Violence Against Women Act [Boston Globe]