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Ricky Dale Harrington Jr.

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Ricky Dale Harrington Jr.
File:Ricky Dale Harrington, Jr. portrait (cropped).jpg
Personal details
Ricky Dale Harrington, Jr

Marshall, Texas, U.S.[1]
Political partyLibertarian
ResidencePine Bluff, Arkansas
EducationHarding University (BMin)[1]
WebsiteCampaign website

Ricky Dale Harrington, Jr is an American politician and prison chaplain who is the Libertarian nominee for the 2020 United States Senate election in Arkansas. After Democratic candidate Josh Mahony dropped out of the race, Harrington became the sole challenger to incumbent Republican Tom Cotton in November 2020.

Early life and career[edit]

Harrington was born in Marshall, Texas, and graduated from Jefferson High School, in nearby Jefferson.[1] At 18 years old, he was threatened with lynching by several white men outside a bowling alley.[2] He briefly attended Kilgore College before joining the Sunset International Bible Institute as a missionary, ministering at a primary school in Scotland. Harrington returned to the United States after a year as a missionary, graduating from Harding University with a Bachelor of Ministry.[3]

In 2016, he became a prison chaplain with the Arkansas Department of Correction, working at the Cummins Unit in Lincoln County, Arkansas.[3]

2020 Senate election[edit]

Harrington speaking at an event focused on criminal justice reform in Springdale, October 25, 2020

On October 7, 2019, Harrington announced his intention to seek the Libertarian Party of Arkansas' nomination for the state's seat in the United States Senate, held by incumbent Republican Tom Cotton.[4] On November 12, 2019, Josh Mahony, the sole Democratic candidate, withdrew his candidacy.[5] Because Mahony dropped out after the filing deadline, the Democratic Party of Arkansas could only nominate a replacement if the candidate died, became seriously ill, left the state, or filed for another office. As a result, the Democratic Party of Arkansas was not able to fill the vacancy, leaving Harrington as Cotton's primary challenger.[6][7]

Harrington campaigned on a platform of criminal justice issues, criticizing mass incarceration and advocating for prison reform.[8][9] He also criticized the hyper-partisanship in Congress, pointing to the contentious Supreme Court nomination process of Amy Coney Barrett[10] After Cotton declined to attend a televised debate hosted by Arkansas PBS, Harrington appeared as the sole participant.[11][12]

Electoral history[edit]


United States Senate election in Arkansas, 2020
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Tom Cotton (incumbent) 788,314 66.7
Libertarian Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. 394,263 33.3
Total votes 100.0%


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Email communication with Ricky Dale Harrington Jr". Ballotpedia. 2020-04-07. Retrieved 2020-11-04. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  2. "Information submitted to Ballotpedia through the Candidate Connection survey on March 12, 2020". Ballotpedia. 2020-03-12. Retrieved 2020-11-04. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  3. 3.0 3.1 "About — Ricky Harrington for U.S. Senate". Ricky Harrington. Retrieved 2020-11-04. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  4. "Harrington to challenge Cotton in 2020 election". Pine Bluff Commercial. October 7, 2019. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  5. "Two hours after filing period ends, Democrat Josh Mahony drops out of U.S. Senate race". Arkansas Democrat Gazette. November 12, 2019. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  6. Brock, Roby (November 13, 2019). "Arkansas law suggests Mahony exit likely leaves Cotton without Democratic opponent". Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  7. "There won't be an Arkansas Democrat challenging Sen. Cotton in 2020 election". thv11.com.
  8. Brock, Roby (November 13, 2019). "Arkansas law suggests Mahony exit likely leaves Cotton without Democratic opponent". Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  9. Komar, Sarah (November 1, 2020). "Tom Cotton's Lone, Third-Party Opponent Shakes Up U.S. Senate Race". The Arkansas Traveler. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  10. Staff, Talk Business & Politics (September 27, 2020). "Libertarian Senate candidate Ricky Harrington calls for end to hyper-partisanship". Talk Business & Politics. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
  11. Boehm, Eric (October 12, 2020). "Tom Cotton won't debate his Libertarian challenger. The event will happen anyway". Reason Foundation. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
  12. Roberts, Adam (14 October 2020). "Harrington, challenging Cotton, appears solo in Arkansas PBS debate". 40/29 News. Retrieved 15 October 2020.

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