Former FEMA Head to Run for Congress in Arkansas

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Wednesday, 06 Nov 2013 12:19 PM

By Dan Weil

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Former FEMA Director James Lee Witt announced Tuesday his intention to run for Congress from Arkansas's 4th district, which is being vacated by Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, who plans to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor next year.

"I’ve spent my adult life bringing people together at the toughest times of their lives and dealing with disasters," the Democrat said during a conference call Tuesday with reporters.

"Nowhere needs disaster relief more than Washington. No place needs to be brought together more than Congress."

Although he was popular in his home state and across the country while he was President Bill Clinton's director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Witt's campaign is by no means expected to be a slam dunk, especially in a district where Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney took 62 percent of the vote last year, according to Politico.

On the Republican side, Tommy Mall, an energy executive, and Bruce Westerman, the state House majority leader, hope to take over Cotton's seat and keep it in Republican hands.

At the moment, Republicans hold all four of the state’s congressional seats for the first time since the end of the Civil War. But Democrats hope to capitalize in Arkansas on the strength of Witt and Patrick Henry Hays, former mayor of North Little Rock, who also is vying for an open seat being vacated by a Republican, Politico reports.

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