NYT: Sen. Cotton May Become CIA Director

ARKANSAS - FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) -- Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, may become the next CIA director, according to a report from the New York Times

The newspaper reported the White House is working on a plan to force out Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replace him with current CIA Director Mike Pompeo. If that happens, Cotton would take Pompeo's former position, according to the newspaper. 

Cotton has showed interest in accepting the job if it were offered to him. 

Pearl Dowe, the chair of the political science department at the University of Arkansas says it would be a big move for Cotton. 

"It elevates him in a very significant way particularly coming from a small state like Arkansas," Dowe said.  "He has had a very quick trajectory and this would only take him even further."

In 2017, legislators updated Arkansas law relating to filling a vacancy in the U.S. Senate. 

Under Act 310, Gov. Asa Hutchinson would appoint a replacement should Cotton go to the CIA and leave his seat vacant. If Hutchinson makes the appointment before July 6, 2018, the appointee would have to run for re-election during the 2018 mid-terms if she or he wants to keep the seat. 

If the appointment comes after July 6, 2018, the interim senator would serve the remainder of the senator's term, which expires in 2020.  

"I expect that the person that would be appointed in the position would be a Republican but also pretty much in line with the ideas of Tom Cotton," Dowe said. 

Dowe believes Cotton's seat is crucial if Senate Republicans want to pass key legislation.

"I'm pretty sure that the governor would be very expedient in selecting someone and probably would actually get a few phone calls pretty much trying to urge him to move as fast as possible because they need that seat filled to make some of these key votes," Dowe explained. 

A spokesperson for Gov. Hutchinson says it would likely take a few weeks to appoint an interim senator if Cotton vacates his seat. 


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