The number of Republicans who voted in Tuesday’s Arkansas primary surpassed the number of Democrats “for the first time since the Civil War,” according to a memo issued this morning by Republican Senate candidate Rep. Tom Cotton’s campaign.
The number of GOP primary voters increased by 32.4 percent since 2010 and 18.3 percent since 2012, communications director David Ray wrote in the memo.
The growing numbers signal an upsurge in GOP voter enthusiasm, according to Ray:
Last night, Arkansas voters cast 176,783 Republican primary ballots to the Democrats' 150,101. That's a 32.4 percent increase in GOP primary voting from 2010. Even more impressive is the fact that Arkansas Republicans surpassed even their 2012 primary total by 18.3 percent last night.
As our friends at the Arkansas GOP pointed out after a lopsided special election in a traditionally Democrat district in January, the electoral ground is shifting beneath Senator Mark Pryor's feet in Arkansas. Last night, the Associated Press wrote: "Tuesday's primary highlighted Arkansas' transformation from a Democratic stronghold in the south to a state where Republicans have made gains up and down the ballot."
Cotton is locked in a fiercely competitive race with Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor. Recent polls have shown Pryor gaining ground on Cotton, but some analysts say the surveys may underestimate the number of GOP voters who will turn out for the 2014 midterms.