Posted 2/11/2014 11:10 am
Updated 6 months ago
LITTLE ROCK — The Republican Governors Association on Tuesday said it would begin airing a television ad criticizing gubernatorial hopeful Mike Ross as too closely aligned with President Barack Obama and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
The 30-second spot from the RGA is a signal of the expected influence of national GOP groups in the race for the state's top office. Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe is unable to run in November because of term limits, and Republicans are increasingly confident they can reclaim the office.
A spokesman for the RGA said the group is spending six figures to run the ad in all of the state's major broadcast and cable markets, and would also run on the radio. Ross, a former congressman, is the only Democrat running for governor. The spot shows Ross' image side-by-side with Pelosi and Obama and criticizes several of his votes while in Congress, including for the stimulus package in 2009.
"Obama, Pelosi and Ross. Trillions of things in common. All of them wasted," the narrator says in the ad. "That's the real Mike Ross."
Ross' campaign sought to link the ads to Asa Hutchinson, the former congressman and Ross' chief Republican rival for the state's top office. Hutchinson, who lost the 2006 governor's race to Beebe, is running against state Rep. Debra Hobbs and Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman for the GOP nomination.
"This out-of-state ad by Congressman Hutchinson's special interests friends is both predictable and sad," Ross spokesman Brad Howard said in an email. Howard defended Ross as a "proven fiscal conservative" in Congress.
Ross has been outpacing Hutchinson in fundraising and has unveiled two television ads since the start of the year, including a spot touting his endorsement from Beebe.
Republicans have made widespread gains in Arkansas over the past two elections by tying Democrats at the state and national level to the president, who remains deeply unpopular among Arkansas voters. The GOP won control of the state Legislature for the first time in the 2012 election.
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