Potential Senate hopeful Rep. Tom Cotton defends ambition

Freshman Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has, to this point, been pretty quiet about a potential run for the Senate in 2014.

But on Thursday, Cotton may have provided a hint that he's seriously considering taking a step up soon after being elected to the House.

In an e-mail to supporters, Cotton linked to an op-ed from former congressman Ed Bethune (R-Ark.) defending the ambition of politicians.

The op-ed makes no direct mention of the prospect that Cotton could run for Senate so soon after being elected to the House. But it comes as Democrats have targeted Cotton, a 36-year-old veteran, for potentially climbing the political ladder a little too fast.

Democratic groups have launched preemptive ads in that vein.

"Tom Cotton started as a farm boy in Dardanelle," Bethune wrote in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "He made it where he is today due to hard work and ambition."

Bethune added: "It does not get much lower than to mischaracterize the ambition of a man who has achieved so much and put his life on the line for this country."

Cotton is weighing a challenge against Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) -- a top GOP target in 2014. In 1984, Bethune lost to Pryor's father, then-Sen. David Pryor (D-Ark.).

Here's the ad being run against Cotton:

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · July 18, 2013