Posted 5/29/2013 11:18 am
Updated 11 months ago
LITTLE ROCK - Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor's campaign said Wednesday it is preparing to launch the first campaign ad for his re-election bid as he faces a high-dollar television blitz from groups on the left and the right.
Jeff Weaver, Pryor's campaign manager, said the 30-second ad would begin airing Friday in Arkansas but declined to say how much airtime the campaign has purchased. Pryor, who is seeking a third Senate term, doesn't have any announced opponents yet but is widely viewed by Republicans as one of the most vulnerable incumbents next year.
"It's a substantial buy," Weaver said. "We're looking forward to putting that ad up."
Weaver disclosed the plans shortly after a Republican group said it would begin airing television ads in the Little Rock and Fort Smith markets. The 30-second spot by Senate Conservatives Action features several conservative activists calling Pryor too liberal and criticizes the lawmaker for supporting the federal health care law in 2010.
The Virginia-based GOP group said the ad was part of a $320,000 buy over the next three weeks in Arkansas. Another conservative group, the Club for Growth, aired television ads earlier this year calling Pryor President Barack Obama's "best ally" in the state.
Pryor also faces criticism from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group co-founded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, which is airing ads in the state criticizing Pryor for opposing a measure to expand background checks for firearms purchases.
Pryor has defended his vote, saying a competing measure he supported would have done more to address gun violence.
Weaver didn't offer many details about what would be in the ad, but said it was aimed at responding to outside groups targeting Pryor.
"The outside groups are trying to convince people that Mark Pryor is something different than what he is," Weaver said. "We think it's important that he tells people that he's not far left or far right. He's right in the middle. He listens to Arkansans and not these outside interest groups."
Pryor is the only Democrat in Washington from Arkansas, a state that has turned increasingly Republican in recent years. He easily won re-election in 2008 with no Republican opposition.