Arkansas: Cotton the burr in settlement saddle. According to the Washington Post, centrists trying to reach a budget agreement have been frustrated because US Sen. Tom Cotton (R), a hawk on immigration (and just about everything else) has President Trump’s ear on immigration. Trump’s approval is essential to any agreement ……. Alabama: Battleenters governor’s race. Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle has filed as a Republican candidate for governor of Alabama, challenging incumbent Governor Kay Ivey (R). After his filing, Battle said “While the ship of state may be settled, it is time to move it forward,” an allusion to Ivey’s opening campaign statement that the ship of state is steady. Huntsville, under Battle’s leadership for the past nine years, has attracted more than 25,000 jobs, with industries such as Polaris, Remington Arms and, most recently, a Mazda-Toyota facility. The city is expected to surpassBirmingham as the state’s largest city in the next ten years, according to the Alabama Political Reporter. The filing deadline is Feb. 9; the primary on June 5 ……. Kentucky: Paul assailant pleads guilty. Rene Boucher, 59, will plead guilty to assaulting a member of congress after tackling his neighbor, US Sen. Rand Paul (R), in a dispute over lawn care and could face up to 21 months imprisonment. The assault left Paul with six broken ribs. Boucher “continues to be very regretful and very remorseful,” his attorney told the Washington Post …….