Rep. Tom Cotton (R) looks like he's in decent shape in Arkansas' U.S. Senate race, despite his record and platform, with most recent polling showing him with a slight edge over incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor (D).
That doesn't mean, however, that Cotton's limited voting record after 20 months in Congress can't trip him up.
The Arkansas Republican, one of the year's most far-right candidates for statewide office, has been pressed to explain all sorts of House votes -- his opposition to disaster relief aid, his vote to privatize Medicare out of existence, etc. -- but it's the Farm Bill that's arguably the most problematic. Arkansas' farms and state economy rely on this important agricultural legislation, and the fact that Cotton tried to kill it reinforces Pryor's argument: the congressman's agenda is just too extreme for Arkansas.
What's more, Arkansas' House delegation has four Republicans, and the other three voted for the Farm Bill, making Cotton appear that much more extreme and out of step -- even within his own Republican Party, even among GOP lawmakers from the Deep South.
In July, the far-right congressman came up with a defense: he couldn't vote for the Farm Bill, Cotton said, because it should have done more to treat food-stamp recipients as suspected drug addicts.
"When President Obama hijacked the Farm Bill, and turned it into a food-stamp bill, with billions more in spending, I voted, 'No.'"
By any fair standard, Cotton is simply lying. It's a risky thing to do for a candidate a small lead in the polls and only seven weeks left in the campaign, but apparently, the congressman sees it as a necessary risk.