Cotton errs, says he voted for '04 gay-nuptials ban

He didn’t vote, records show

In a teleconference meeting Monday with Arkansas residents, U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton said he voted for the 2004 Arkansas Marriage amendment that banned same-sex marriage.

But Arkansas secretary of state voting records show Cotton, the Republican candidate running against Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, did not vote in Arkansas during the 2004 election. A spokesman for Cotton's campaign said the congressman misspoke during the almost hour-long call while answering a resident's question.

"He supported that [amendment] in 2004. He simply said 'vote' when he meant to say 'support,'" said spokesman David Ray. "His position on that issue has been very clear and has not wavered."

According to secretary of state records, Cotton began voting in Arkansas in 1996. There was a gap in his voting record between a December 2000 special election and the 2006 Republican primary. Since 2006, he has voted in Arkansas either in person or by absentee ballot, according to those records.

The call Monday night went out to several hundred residents, inviting them to participate. Cotton has participated in a number of the calls, which offer a chance for potential voters to ask questions but are often not publicized to the media or others ahead of time. Ray said the format -- which he said is common in campaigns -- allows candidates to reach hundreds of voters at a time.

One of the residents who received the phone call Monday recorded the session and gave it to Pryor's campaign.

"It's laughable that Sen. Pryor would lecture anyone about credibility, since he's the one that told Arkansans they could keep their insurance if they like it under Obamacare and has refused to debate Tom Cotton on this or any other issues," Ray said.

Erik Dorey, Pryor's deputy campaign manager, said Pryor voted in favor of the amendment in 2004. Secretary of state voting records confirmed that Pryor cast a ballot in the 2004 election.

"If Congressman Cotton can't be trusted to shoot straight with Arkansans on an issue where he and Mark Pryor agree, voters are right to be skeptical when he offers up excuses for recklessly voting against disaster aid, affordable student loans and to make seniors wait until they're 70 for Social Security and Medicare," Dorey said.

Metro on 06/04/2014