HOT SPRINGS — State Rep. Bruce Westerman has defeated Hot Springs businessman Tommy Moll to secure the Republican nomination for Arkansas' 4th Congressional District.
With 586 of 841 precincts reporting, Westerman was leading Moll 14,291 to 12,436 when The Associated Press called the race at 10:18 p.m.
In a victory speech at a watch party at the Five Star Dinner Theater, Westerman thanked Garland County for "tremendous margins" that helped him secure victory.
"This election is about freedom," he told a crowd of supporters. "And we are going to decide what levels of freedom we enjoy as citizens of this country and this state. We will decide whether we will have more power to shape our own lives or whether we are going to lose that power to an unfair, top-down Obama administration that tramples our freedoms ..."
Westerman will vie to succeed U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, who is running for U.S. Senate, in the November general election alongside Democratic nominee James Lee Witt, Libertarian candidate Ken Hamilton and independent candidate Janis Percefull.
The race between Westerman, a Hot Springs resident who is the state House majority leader, and Moll was marked by disagreement over Westerman's history with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
Moll's campaign ran an ad accusing Westerman of sponsoring a pair of bills tied to Obamacare. But Westerman called the claim a "blatant lie," noting he has been a staunch opponent of the health law and voted against it more than a dozen times. Republicans and Democrats came to Westerman's defense and said the ad was misleading.
For more on this story, read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.