Tommy Moll — a worthy successor to Tom Cotton

With Tom Cotton running for the Senate this year, Arkansas’ Fourth Congressional District will be electing a new representative. Tommy Moll, an Arkansas businessman, is seeking the Republican nomination for that seat.

Moll formerly worked at the Peterson Institute in Washington, DC, where he analyzed ways in which public policy can help open new markets to American businesses and farms. During his time in Washington, and at fundraisers held this campaign season, he impressed some of my best conservative friends. Indeed, our own publisher, Joe Malchow, is a friend and a fan of Moll.

In addition, Moll has been endorsed by Red State and by Freedom Works. Paul Ryan has just endorsed him, as well.

Moll’s main Republican opponent, and the apparent frontrunner in the race, is Bruce Westerman, the majority leader in the Arkansas house. The Moll campaign has attacked Westerman for twice sponsoring legislation to implement Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in Arkansas. Moll lays out the time line of Westerman’s support here.

Avik Roy, a respected conservative critic of Obamacare, has defended Westerman’s first Medicaid expansion bill on the grounds that it was a shell bill that could be later used, once amended, as a vehicle for sweeping, private-sector-based Medicaid reform in Arkansas. According to Roy, Westerman withdrew his support after it became clear, on March 29, 2013, that Kathleen Sebelius would not permit the kind of reform Westerman contemplated.

Moll counters (per his time line) that Westerman actually co-sponsored the first Medicaid expansion bill on April 2, 2013, after Sebelius had made her position clear. Moll also argues that, although Westerman withdrew his support a week later and voted against the legislation, he later introduced a second bill that would implement ObamaCare by using federal taxpayer money to add a new group of 250,000 Arkansans to government-subsidized health insurance.

Readers can draw their own conclusions about this dispute. Based on everything I’ve heard and read, Moll looks like an outstanding candidate to succeed Tom Cotton. Check out his campaign website and see whether you agree.

The primary will be held this Tuesday, May 20. If there’s a runoff, it will take place on June 10.

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