Arkansas Democrats Fail to Get Candidate on Ballot Against Cotton

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) / Getty Images

The Democratic Party of Arkansas announced Monday that it was ending its push to get a candidate for U.S. Senate on the ballot in 2020 for Republican senator Tom Cotton's first reelection bid.

Party leaders spent the past two weeks scrambling to find a way to replace Joshua Mahony, who announced that he was ending his campaign just two hours after the official filing deadline to run for office. Mahony cited a "family health concern" in his surprise announcement, leaving party officials flatfooted.

In a Monday press conference, party chairmanĀ Michael John Gray said Mahony was a no-show for a meeting he had scheduled with the party to explain his situation and that a legal representative for Mahony refused to elaborate beyond his initial statement on quitting the race.

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Without cooperation from Mahony, Gray said the party had no way to get a candidate on the ballot, according to video of the press conference posted by a local news website.

"After exhaustive and careful examination with our legal counsel and our party leaders and without additional information from Mr. Mahony, the Democratic Party of Arkansas will not be able to field a candidate for the United States Senate," Gray said.

Mahony ran for a House seat in 2018 and lost by more than 30 points. He launched his long shot campaign against Cotton in May.

The developments represent a new low point for the Democratic Party in Arkansas, which just a decade ago was considered a battleground state. All of the state's current members of Congress are Republicans, and the party holds complete control of the state legislature as well as the governor's mansion.

Cotton will still face both a Libertarian and an independent next November.