UPDATE Pryor war chest at $4.2 million

WASHINGTON —U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., raised $1.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, bringing his total contributions to more than $5.3 million for the year, his campaign announced Monday.

Pryor closed on Dec. 31 with about $4.2 million cash on hand, his campaign said.

The U.S. Senate race in Arkansas is expected to be among the most hotly contested – and expensive – in the nation as Republicans seek to gain control of the U.S. Senate in 2014. Republicans need to add six seats to take the majority and are counting on Pryor’s likely GOP challenger, U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton of Dardanelle, to take one of them.

“Heading into the election year, Mark will have every resource to remind voters about his record as a reliable and responsible voice for Arkansas families, while drawing clear contrasts with Congressman Cotton’s reckless agenda that puts his own interests ahead of Arkansans,” said Jeff Weaver, Pryor for Senate campaign manager.

David Ray, a spokesman for the Cotton Senate campaign, responded with a quip aimed at Pryor’s ties to President Barack Obama.

“After being the deciding vote for Obamacare, Senator Pryor is going to need all that money to distract Arkansans from the fact that he’s voted with President Obama 95 percent of the time,” Ray said.

Cotton’s campaign has not released any fundraising figures for the close of 2013. Year-end reports are not due until the end of January.

Pryor’s campaign also has not filed a report, but figures released by Pryor’s campaign show him ending the year with $4.2 million – down from the $4.4 million cash on hand reported at the end of September. That means Pryor’s campaign spent about $1.3 million between October and December.

Cotton ended September with just over $1.8 million cash on hand, after raising $1.07 million between July and September, according to his third-quarter report. Pryor raised a similar amount that quarter.

Pryor and Cotton attended this year’s Gillett Coon Supper held Saturday night in southeastern Arkansas. The event, which has been held annually for 71 years, received national media attention this year as Arkansas braces for a hectic political season.