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Cotton appears at N.H. GOP dinner

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., traveled to New Hampshire last week, appearing Friday at the Hillsborough County Republican Committee's Lincoln-Reagan dinner.

Photos on social media showed him addressing attentive, but maskless, party activists.

While in the Granite State, Cotton also stopped by President Donald Trump's campaign headquarters, Fox News reported.

Cotton's trip to Manchester, the state's largest city, comes one week after a similar trip to Tennessee. Cotton told a Fox reporter that he'll be traveling West next week to campaign on behalf of U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.

Since Arkansas Democrats failed to field a challenger to Cotton, he faces no major-party opposition as he runs for a second term. And with more than $6 million cash on hand, his campaign has plenty of resources moving forward.

Although New Hampshire traditionally holds the nation's earliest presidential primary, the Little Rock incumbent said his focus is on this year's election, not 2024.

"I'm going to be traveling all around the country trying to make sure that Republicans win," Cotton told reporter Paul Steinhauser.

Crawford dubious of mail-in voting

U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., said steps must be taken to ensure the nation's elections are secure.

President Donald Trump, while floating the idea of postponing this year's presidential elections, is actually concerned about ballot security, the lawmaker from Jonesboro said in an interview.

"I think this is probably the motivation for the tweet," Crawford said.

"This mail-in ballot notion is not necessarily ready for prime time."

Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Utah and Hawaii already conduct all elections exclusively by mail, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

"The idea of mail-in voting might have a lot of appeal. However it is ripe for fraud," he said.

Crawford said it's appropriate for Americans to request absentee ballots or to cast early ballots at voting locations.

But he opposes any shift to statewide vote-by-mail efforts. "We've really made voting very easy," he said. "If we start making it too easy, then it opens up a Pandora's box for fraud potential."

Oregon's Republican secretary of state, Beverly Clarno, has dismissed claims that the system is ripe for fraud.

Asked about Trump's objections to vote-by-mail, she told "60 Minutes" her message is: "Try it, you might like it."

Womack observes West Point drilling

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., visited the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., late last month, meeting with officials there and observing summer training.

While there, he met with the cadet contingent from Northwest Arkansas, including Kristopher Bailey of Fort Smith; Garrett Chrisman of Rogers; Isaac Drewry of Harrison; Kayden Eckman of Eureka Springs; Jonathon Guthrie of Bentonville; and Curtis Josenberger Jr. of Fort Smith, his office said.

All of them wore masks.

In a written statement, Womack described the training as "pivotal," saying it would help the future military leaders "to become officers in the strongest military in the world."

"What they are experiencing is extremely tough and rigorous, but these future leaders aren't wavering from the challenge. With so many opportunities readily available, it's truly inspiring to see these young men and women choose a path of service above self," he said.

Located on the Hudson River about 50 miles north of New York City, West Point is "the oldest continuously occupied military post in America," officials say.

Womack, former executive director of the University of Arkansas' Army ROTC program, serves as chairman of the West Point board of visitors.

He retired as a colonel in 2009 after serving for three decades with the Arkansas Army National Guard.

Planning to visit the nation's capital? Know something happening in Washington, D.C.? Please contact Frank Lockwood at (202) 662-7690 or flockwood@arkansas Want the latest from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Washington bureau? It's available on Twitter, @LockwoodFrank.

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