Republican Tom Cotton has defeated incumbent senator Mark Pryor in Arkansas. Pryor had held the seat since 2003.
Cotton, at 37, will be the youngest member in the Senate. He currently represents the 4th Congressional District in the Natural State.
The race was called for Cotton not long after polls closed, suggesting a decisive victory. But even a day out poll watchers were calling the race, which showed Pryor trailing Cotton by a slight margin, too close to call.
Cotton is the second GOP pick-up of the night, after Shelley Moore Capito was elected to replace Jay Rockefeller in West Virginia. Republicans need six seats to gain a majority in the Senate.
Cotton said earlier this week that “Arkansans just want a government that works for them and is limited in its scope, but competent and effective in its rightful duties. They want a government that polices the market, that helps businesses create jobs, that protects our national defense, that doesn’t apologize for our actions overseas, that defends our borders and gives opportunity to all Americans, that’s what they want, and that’s what I’m going to try and provide.”
The senator-elect also represents a shift from a seat controlled by an abortion rights senator to one who was endorsed by pro-life groups.
The race was never considered a particularly good one for a GOP pick-up so election observers noted how smart and tenacious Cotton’s campaign work was in a former Democratic stronghold. The Clintons did a lot of campaigning in both Kentucky and Arkansas, two states that have had positive results for Republicans.