(Via KARK) While Republicans have center stage in Cleveland this week, some say one Arkansan has taken part of the spotlight.
Senator Tom Cotton spoke the first night of the RNC and has continued to hold the attention of state delegations throughout the week.
Cotton seems to be laying the groundwork for the future of his political career. Thursday (7/21) he spoke to the California GOP delegates. He’s made appearances at several other state delegate luncheons and breakfast meetings.
“State by state, the delegations [are] clambering to hear from Tom Cotton,” said Republican strategist Bill Vickery. “You could not have had a better week if you were Tom Cotton.”
While other political figures opted out of speaking at the convention, trying to distance themselves from Donald Trump, Cotton spoke and some say it was his introduction to a nationwide audience.
Democratic strategist Jessica DeLoach said, “I personally don’t look at him and think of him as a person who’s there to support Trump. He’s there because he knows his moment.”
Speculation about the Senator’s future was kicked into high gear following his speeches. The youngest sitting Senator in office has been touted as the future of the party.
“Whether or not you agree with him, you know he knows what he’s talking about. He just had a hard nosed approach to certain issues that Donald Trump can’t even begin to touch,” DeLoach added. “So his star will certainly not be diminished whether or not he’s at Donald Trump’s party; it doesn’t really matter.”
While what lies ahead for the youngest sitting Senator in office isn’t clear. Cotton however has been regarded as being on a new level in the political landscape following the RNC. That however can come with added scrutiny.
“A lot of people who saw his speech will tell you that his speech was not that bad,” DeLoach suggested. “But they would tell you that it wasn’t memorable.”
He may have been trying to keep a distance from Trump, only mentioning the GOP nominee once in his Monday night speech. Some say it’s in case he’s back the next go around giving a much different speech.
Cotton’s name has been plastered on article headlines across the internet. TIME called him a rising star and that his speech was “a precursor to another in four or eight years accepting the nomination.”
We’ve seen the impact a national convention can have on a political figure’s future and possible track to the White House.
Another well known Arkansan spoke at the Democratic Convention in ’88. Four years later, the lesser known Governor of Arkansas became President.
Some say they can’t remember a freshman senator getting quite this amount of attention though.
Vickery said, “Most definitely this convention was the coming out party for Tom Cotton.”