It may seem like every Republican is gearing up to run for president next year, but one GOP senator’s supporters are actually clearing a path for him to run in 2020.
This week, state legislators in Arkansas are considering a bill that would allow candidates to seek multiple federal offices in the same election. The lawmaker proposing the legislation, state Sen. Bart Hester (R), said it is being written with a potential beneficiary in mind: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).
"Tom Cotton would be my current idea of someone who should be afforded this opportunity,” Hester said, according to the Associated Press. “Politics, if I've learned anything, it changes every day and there could be the great next hope show up tomorrow. But I don't think it's reasonable to say I wouldn't be looking at Tom Cotton to have that opportunity."
Cotton hasn't said whether he supports the effort to change the current law, according to Hester. A spokesperson for the senator did not immediately return a request for comment.
The Arkansas legislation seeks to rectify the same problem that Sen. Rand Paul is currently facing in nearby Kentucky as he contemplates a run for president. Paul has lobbied to change the traditional Republican primary in his state to a caucus, which Paul believes would allow him to skirt a state law that prohibits candidates from seeking two offices in the same election cycle.
Cotton has been in the Senate for just over two months, but he’s already stirring up controversy there. He has used his perch on the Armed Services Committee to promote his hawkish worldview. This week, Cotton released a letter to Iranian leaders, cosigned by 46 of his fellow Senate Republicans, stating that any nuclear agreement struck with the U.S. could immediately be nullified by a future president. The letter sparked outrage from Democrats, who said that the Republicans were undermining U.S. diplomacy, and provoked a harsh response from the Obama administration and potential 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.