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Tom Cotton takes an early lead

Our friend Tom Cotton has jumped ahead in the Republican congressional primary in Arkansas’ Fourth District. With 2 of 33 counties reporting, Tom has 74 percent of the vote and leads his main rival Beth Anne Rankin 418 votes to 113. Clearly, there’s a very long way to go, and we’ll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, in the Arkansas Democratic presidential primary, President Obama leads someone call John Wolfe by 58 percent to 42 percent, with 1 of 75 counties. This one could be fun to watch.

You can follow these races at the Arkansas Secretary of State’s website.

UPDATE: It could be a long night. Tom currently leads Rankin 3,523 to 3,326, according to Real Clear Politics.

Obama is now up 61 percent to 39 percent. His opponent says he has raised less than $2,000 and he is not from Arkansas, but rather Nashville, Tennessee.

Romney, by contrast, leads Ron Paul in Arkansas by 72-12.

UPDATE (WITH MORE MEANINGFUL RESULTS): At about the one-third mark, Tom has opened up a lead of about 2,000 votes. He’s at 53.4 percent to 42.6 percent for Rankin. Tom was at 51 percent in the last poll I saw, with Rankin at 33 percent.

AT ABOUT THE HALF WAY POINT: Tom has upped his lead to around 4,700 votes. His margin is 55-39.

Arkansas has run-off elections if no candidate reaches 50 percent, so we’ll keep a close eye on Tom’s percentage.

FINAL UPDATE: Approximately three-quarters of the vote is in. Tom is leading by around 6,000 votes and commands 56 percent of the total. Politico (or someone on its behalf) has declared him the winner.

This could be the start of something very big. Tom’s a huge baseball fan, and I hope he’ll forgive me if I compare his smashing entrance onto the political stage to Bryce Harper’s emergence the same month as a potential Major League superstar.

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