But Red State's editor-in-chief Erick Erickson says Cotton has yet to prove himself in Congress and challenged the congressman-elect to lead, not follow.
"The GOP in Congress doesn't really stand for a whole lot these days. I'll be interested to see if Tom Cotton can help them change that as a younger face with conservative conviction," said Erickson, also a CNN contributor.
"Some conservatives fear that, having rallied to him early, he'll turn out like a lot of tea party members from 2010 and align so closely with leadership as to not stand out except as peddlers of the leadership agenda. It'll be interesting to see if he sets his own course," he said.
Cotton laughs at the suggestion that he is looking ahead.
"People have big plans for my life, they just don't always tell me what they are," Cotton said, using a line his chief of staff said he would use to answer questions about his boss' future. "People are talking about 2014 and years beyond, I am just trying to pick out what paint I get."
From Dardanelle, Arkansas, to D.C.
For some freshman, the process of leaving their districts and moving to Washington can be daunting. New apartment, new office, new people -- very little is familiar.
As in the rest of life, however, Cotton says he is prepared and familiar with the nation's capital.
Not only did he work at the Washington law firm of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher before going to Iraq, he also served as a member of the Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery, the group of infantrymen that escorts caskets.
"I have literally run all over the city, in the morning, during PT [physical training] hours," Cotton said. "So I know the streets very well."
He has leased a "small studio" on Capitol Hill and says he hasn't eaten out in Washington enough to like anything but the House cafeteria. And though he is unmarried and without children, he says he plans to go home a lot.
Cotton will begin to build his staff, lay out his legislative priorities and work through the committee selection process in the next few weeks. When asked about what committees he would like, he listed a wide swath.
"Financial services, the arm services, budget, foreign affairs," he listed. "There is really no bad committees in my opinion. So many committees would be good for the district and the state."
Whatever committees he lands on, it is clear that Cotton wants to become a leader -- and have influence.
"I think it is just a matter of working hard and mastering your issues and trying to become a thought leader on certain subjects so that you can help influence and persuade your colleagues," Cotton concluded.
And, yes, he will attempt to become that thought leader from an office -- in Cannon.
After huffing it around the Capitol complex and carefully updating his spreadsheet, it's the congressman-elect's turn to select his first House office.
Cotton ended up with 415 Cannon, which executive assistant Eliza Baker said was very high on his list because its accessibility and meeting space would be the best office for serving constituents.
His staff is thrilled -- and likely tired -- and Cotton is ready for his next congressional mission.