Democrats Are About to Start Running Ads Against Tom Cotton

by Chuck Bartels, The Associated Press  on Thursday, Jun. 27, 2013 2:19 pm  

Tom Cotton

LITTLE ROCK - Democrats won't wait for freshman Republican U.S. Rep Tom Cotton to announce whether he'll challenge U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor.

Patriot Majority USA And Senate Majority PAC - two Democratic political action committees - said Thursday they planned to spend $270,000 on television ad that attacks Cotton for allegedly seeking the national spotlight at the expense of his district.

The ad shows Cotton on numerous national news programs and says he's out of touch with Arkansans.

Pryor is the last Democrat in the Arkansas congressional delegation after two election cycles in which Republicans won three House seats and a Senate seat. The GOP also grabbed the majority in the Arkansas House and Senate.

Pryor campaign spokesman Jeff Weaver said he'd heard an anti-Cotton ad was being developed but had no other information.

"I don't know if (Cotton) is running," Weaver said.

Ty Matsdorf, a spokesman for the groups, said the ad was scheduled to start running Thursday night in the Fort Smith and Little Rock television markets and on cable stations in southern Arkansas.

"While Tom Cotton's continues to mull over his political options, what is clear is that he is using the people of Arkansas as a stepping stone to vault his own personal national ambitions," Matsdorf said in an email.

Cotton spokeswoman Caroline Rabbitt said in an emailed statement that Cotton "is indeed an outspoken fighter for Arkansas, especially against Obamacare. He hasn't encountered many Arkansans who want their elected officials to follow instead of lead, but I guess some Democrats have low expectations of their elected officials, who aren't capable of much more than sitting on the back bench."

Pryor isn't the only senator to draw outside support against an unannounced opponent. In Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stands to benefit from ads funded by a super PAC that target Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. That ad paints Grimes, Kentucky's secretary of state who has not come forth as a candidate, as a "cheerleader" for President Barack Obama.

Pryor, who has announced he will seek re-election, has been attacked by liberals and conservatives well ahead of the November 2014 general election.

A gun control advocacy group co-founded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg criticized Pryor for his vote against background checks for gun purchases. The conservative Club for Growth calls Pryor the "closest ally" that Obama has.

The Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee, has spent $320,000 on TV ads that criticized Pryor's vote for Obama's health overhaul and called him too liberal for Arkansas.

In a move to back Pryor, the National Rifle Association paid for a radio ad thanking him for his background check vote.

Pryor said on June 1 that he'd prefer to have the campaign limited to 2014, but he is already airing an ad and raising money. Pryor has already raised more than $3.4 million.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten, broadcast or distributed.)



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