Candidate Intro: Tom Cotton - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Candidate Intro: Tom Cotton

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As we get closer to Election Day we continue to help you get to know the candidates running in Arkansas's biggest races. 

Tom Cotton calls himself a mainstream, commonsense, conservative, but his background is far from typical.

Tom Cotton's career has taken him thousands of miles from his hometown of Dardanelle, but he claims his unlikely path to become the republican congressional candidate began on a September day more than ten years ago.

 "I was in my last year in law school when the 9/11 attacks happened, and I wanted to go fight for our country after that because I feel America had been knocked back on its heels. And we needed new leaders who were willing to do their part," said Cotton.

So after a few years of private practice, Cotton became an army ranger officer and fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He's out of the military now but says he's decided to serve his country in another important crisis.

"Now I think there's a sense that America's a little bit knocked back on their heels as well because we've had a stagnant economy. We've got so much debt and we need a new generation of leaders who will step up and make some tough choices," said Cotton.

Cotton believes he should be part of that new generation of leaders.  The republican calls himself a true conservative who plans on helping to repeal Obamacare, reform the tax code, and cut the deficit.

"I think anyone who's looked at the federal government's budget in any detail knows that there is a lot of fat in the budget -- there's a lot of stuff that we could cut," said Cotton.

Cotton's campaign has raised around $2 million -- far more than his opponents-- and some critics have pointed out that most of the money has come from out of state. But Cotton says no one can influence the way he'll vote.

"Whether a donor is from Arkansas, or from outside the state, I don't owe anyone anything when it comes to the money they've given me or the time they've invested in my campaign," said Cotton.

On Thursday Justin Lewis will introduce you to Cotton's democratic opponent -- State Senator Gene Jeffress.