There is much speculation around how much time Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton spends away from his apartment address and listed voting residence in Little Rock, Arkansas Times reports.
Cotton’s social media accounts typically indicate the senator’s location, and according to Arkansas Times, his accounts “can go many weeks without posting pictures that confirm his presence in the state.”
Little Rock State Senator Clarke Tucker highlighted one of Cotton’s tweets from July that said, “One of the many reasons I’m happy to be back in Iowa — Casey’s pizza!” The post includes a photo of the senator standing in front of Casey’s general store.
Taking a shot at Cotton, Tucker said, “To me, anyone who has campaigned in Arkansas ought to know that there are plenty of Casey’s general stores in Arkansas with that pizza available. So you know, when something like that happens, it really fuels the speculation that he may not be spending a whole lot of time here.”
David Coffman, the senator’s next-door neighbor in Little Rock told Arkansas Times, “You’ll never see him.” He said he rarely sees anyone coming or going from the residence.
Another neighbor of Cotton’s, who asked to remain anonymous, said the same but added that she thought at one point the unit might be serving as an Airbnb.
Aside from his social media disclosing his location, Cotton’s recent financial report also provides insight into his most frequented residence. The report included a 30-year mortgage based in McLean, Virginia, outside of Washington, D.C.
According to Arkansas Times, Cotton has said in an interview, “I’ve always had the home in Arkansas, obviously — first in Dardanelle, then in Little Rock. But since I was elected, like most members, I also have a residence in the D.C. area as well.”
Amid questions regarding where Cotton spends his time, his whereabouts have yet to impact his seat in the Senate.
Chairman of Clark County Republican Committee, Eddie Arnold said he hasn’t heard complaints from his GOP colleagues about Cotton’s location impacting his work.
It’s also unclear where Cotton’s wife Anna Cotton spends the majority of her time. Records obtained from the Pulaski County Circuit and County Clerk’s Office indicate that the senator’s spouse has had an absentee ballot sent to the Post Office in McLean for eight years now, and she sits on the board of Vienna, Virginia-based “people risk management company,” Clearforce.
Typically, when funds are allocated towards travel, it’s included in an elected official’s financial report, and Cotton’s report documents that his office did not cover any of his trips from Arkansas to D.C. this year, or in 2021; three trips in 2020 and about 30 trips in 2019.
However, the senator’s office has not responded to Arkansas Times’ questions about whether his campaign dollars fund his travel to Arkansas or how often he spends time in the state. He also doesn’t include his residential city in his bio, unlike other Arkansans.
Casey Burgat, a director at the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University says it’s now “become the norm” for state officials to spend less and less time in D.C., with the expectation that they live and travel to their home states as often as they can.
Cotton told Fox News, “This is not the right time for our family for me to commit to a six-to-seven-day-a-week campaign for the next two years.”