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Again, what an asshole:

Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who is challenging Sen. Mark Pryor (D) this November, has repeatedly vowed not to fund-raise off the Benghazi tragedy. On Friday, he told Fox News host Neil Cavuto that he personally would not raise money on the issue for his own campaign. “I won’t do that,” he pledged, “but every Republican and Democrat alike is going to have to decide how they’re going to conduct their campaigns and also how they’re going to approach this matter.” But this Saturday, he is hosting a fundraising lunch with former Congressman Allen West (R-FL), who has consistently sought to use the 2012 attacks as a tool to raise money for his leadership PAC.

Few have exploited Benghazi more consistently than West. West has blasted out multiple emails to potential donors asking them to help him elect “14 hard charging conservatives to Congress who defend America – starting with a full Congressional Investigation on Benghazi.” Cotton is one of just four endorsed “2014 candidates” listed on the PAC’s website and West has said he is “building up an arsenal to defeat the left’s attacks against Tom” and others. Over the past two weeks, West claimed both the Donald Sterling racism controversy and the Boko Haram kidnappings in Nigeria are merely distractions from the more important Benghazi issue.

Additionally, Cotton has benefited from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm of the Senate Republican conference. It recently sent out a fundraising solicitation that read: “Americans deserve the truth about Benghazi and its clear Democrats will not give it to them. Donate today and elect a Republican Senate majority.” The House GOP campaign committee, for which Cotton has co-chaired a major fundraising effort, has used a similar approach. - Think Progress, 5/12/14

In fact, here's Cotton talking about how important the Benghazi committee is:

So yeah, Cotton's trying to have his cake and eat it here.  Meanwhile, Senator Mark Pryor (D. AR) continues to lead Cotton in the polls:

When Republicans talk about the Senate sweep they might win in 2014, they put a few races in the "easy" column. They fully expect the open Senate seats in South Dakota and West Virginia, now held by Democrats, to go to the GOP. They're incredibly optimistic about the races in Alaska and North Carolina, where they have so far held off primary challenges from unelectable candidates. (Joe Miller, who won the 2010 GOP primary there but lost when Sen. Lisa Murkowski staged a November write-in campaign, is stuck in third place now.) In Louisiana they're running members of the House with great resumes—a doctor in Louisiana, an Iraq/Afghanistan veteran in Arkansas. And they can't say enough about Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton, who won his House seat in November 2012 and was running for Senate nine months later.

But Arkansas is not cooperating with the plan, not yet. Republicans are currently being irritated by an NBC News/Marist poll that shows Cotton down 10 points to Sen. Mark Pryor. It's easy (and not wrong!) to point out that this is a poll of registered, not likely, voters, and that as the election approaches the electorate will change. But it's the second double-digit Pryor lead they've had to debunk in a month, and currently the senator leads Cotton right outside the margin of error, by about 5 points on average. The same registered voters who give Pryor a lead give Barack Obama a 34 percent approval rating—realistic, in a state he lost by 24 points—and favor former Rep. Asa Hutchinson for governor.

More worringly, Pryor remains pretty well-liked. He's got a 50–34 favorable rating, compared with 38–39 for Cotton. This contradicts one of the theories that Republicans have glommed onto for 2014, that they've invested early to weaken Democrats and back their best candidates. It's been 15 months, just a few weeks after Obama's second inauguration, since the Club for Growth ran this negative ad against Pryor.

- Slate, 5/12/14

Plus here's another reason why Pryor is leading:

While Pryor leads the Senate general election contest in Arkansas, Republican Asa Hutchinson has a seven-point advantage in the state’s gubernatorial contest over Democrat Mike Ross, 49 percent to 42 percent.

The reason why both Pryor and Hutchinson are ahead in their statewide races: Both men are leading among independents – Pryor has a seven-point edge over Cotton here (48 percent to 41 percent), and Hutchinson has a 15-point advantage (52 percent to 37 percent).

In addition, Pryor (with a 50 percent to 35 percent favorable/unfavorable rating) is viewed in a more positive light than Cotton is (38 percent to 39 percent) among voters.

Pryor also is getting the support of 32 percent of voters who disapprove of President Obama’s job in Arkansas. - NBC News, 5/12/14

This is very encouraging news but anything can happen between now and November and the Club for Growth and the Koch Brothers will continue to spend big to defeat Pryor.  If you would like to donate and get involved with Pryor's re-election campaign, you can do so here:

Originally posted to pdc on Mon May 12, 2014 at 09:26 AM PDT.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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