Bill Clinton made his hometown of Hope, Ark., famous in his 1992 presidential election, but he couldn’t deliver any good news for in-state Democrats running this year.
Representative Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) won a convincing victory over Senator Mark Pryor, despite Bill Clinton’s best efforts to efforts to salvage a victory for Democrats in his home state.
Fox News called the race for Cotton pretty quickly — he leads 52 to 45, at the moment. That’s got to be a disappointment for Clinton, who urged voters to push President Obama out of their minds, because he’ll only be in office two more years, whereas a Senate term lasts six years.
“They want you to make this a protest vote,” Clinton said during a rally for Pryor. “They’re saying, you may like these [Democrats], but hey, you know what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to vote against the president. After all, it’s your last shot.”
The 2014 race was a test of Clinton’s strength in his home state. “The election ballot for next year looks like a Clinton political family tree, full of the former president’s protégés and ex-staff members and family friends,” as the New York Times noted last year.
Bill Clinton’s old campaign driver, Mike Ross, also lost his bid for governor — Republican nominee Asa Hutchinson won 52–45 — as the state seems to have joined the rest of the south in making a definitive turn away from the Democratic party.