HOT SPRINGS Republican congressional candidate Tom Cotton has defeated Democratic candidate state senator Gene Jeffress for the United States congressional seat in the 4th District.
The Associated Press reports Cotton won the election, collecting 58.96 percent (54,504 votes) of the vote. Jeffress is currently holding 37.32 percent (34,497 votes).
After winning, Cotton greeted a crowd of around 200 patrons and supporters at a gathering at The Austin Hotel in Hot Springs, along with his parents and extended family.
In his acceptance speech, Cotton spoke of "changing the culture" in Washington.
"Whether you voted for me or not tonight, I look forward to serving you in the United States Congress," he said. "This district is used to sending Democrats to Washington. Now we will send a republican. But just as sure as Grant County, Arkansas is named after another ex-soldier who went to Washington as a republican, so to you can be sure, that whatever your party, I will serve you equally and faithfully in the United States Congress."
Cotton added near the end of his speech that he won the elections seven years to the day that he entered U.S. Army Ranger school.
Jeffress had previously served in the Arkansas House of Representatives and the Arkansas State Senate before running for U.S. Congress.
The races additional candidates, J. Joshua Drake and Robert Tullis took in 1.94 percent and 1.79 percent of the vote at the time the race was called, respectively.
Cotton will take office after winning the republican primary in May. Before entering politics, Cotton worked as a consultant.
Cotton held a substantial lead for most of the night taking the race officially about 90 minutes after the polls closed. Cotton will assume office January 3.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.