New Ads Point Fingers in Arkansas Senate Race

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Two new political ads are hitting the airwaves from both candidates in the U.S. Senate race in Arkansas.

Campaigns for both Sen. Mark Pryor and Rep. Tom Cotton began airing the ads today.

Here's further information from each campaign's news release:

(Pryor News release)
New Ad Highlights Cotton’s Personal Attack On Pryor’s Faith

After Cotton last week sparked headlines for questioning Pryor’s faith, Pryor tells Arkansans: “this is who I am and what I believe.”

Today, the Pryor for Senate campaign released a new television ad, “Heart,” which highlights Rep. Tom Cotton’s deeply personal attack on Mark Pryor's faith. Last week, Cotton labeled Pryor a once-a-week Christian and faced immediate backlash from the media for his out-of-bounds comments. This simple, straightforward ad recaps the in-state coverage of Cotton’s attacks and features Pryor speaking directly to camera about his faith.

Congressman Cotton has declined to retract or apologize for his personal attacks, despite near universal agreement that questioning the sincerity of someone’s religious views is beyond the norm for a political campaign, in Arkansas or anywhere.

Last week, Art English of the University of Arkansas put it this way in an interview with the the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:

"Neighborliness, the Hogs, religion and patriotism; those are the four Arkansas values that come to mind immediately," said Art English, a political science professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

"We take our faith seriously in Arkansas, and when someone injects faith in political conversations, that does open up a whole new avenue of discussion," he said. "I'm surprised that Rep. Cotton would make that comment. It seems like kind of a desperate tactic. Even if the intent was to lump him in with the president, it's kind of an attack on somebody as a conventional Christian and saying they're only there on Sundays. You can't ever really know what someone's personal struggle with faith is." [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 7/3/14]

The ad (embedded below), a significant six-figure buy, began running statewide today.

(Cotton news release)

Cotton Releases New Ad: "Recovery"

New ad sets the record straight on disaster relief and calls out Senator Pryor for politicizing a horrible tragedy.

U.S. Senate candidate Tom Cotton released a new ad Tuesday morning that sets the record straight on Senator Pryor's false attacks regarding disaster relief and calls out Senator Pryor for politicizing the tragic storms that devastated the communities of Mayflower and Vilonia in April. 

Faulkner County Sheriff Andy Shock narrates the ad, titled "Recovery." In the ad, Shock says: "Despite what you've been told, Tom Cotton stood with us every step of the way. Tom voted for disaster relief and full funding of FEMA. Senator Pryor, start focusing on the real issues. Leave our community and our tragedy out of your campaign."

The ad highlights Cotton's votes in support of full funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), including the FY2014 Department of Homeland Security appropriation, from which FEMA derives its funding.  In addition, Cotton worked hand-in-hand with the rest of Arkansas's federal delegation to get federal support to the communities affected by April's storms, supporting all five disaster relief declaration letters of support.

Tom Cotton said: "Senator Pryor should be ashamed of his false attacks that politicize a horrible tragedy in an attempt to score political points. It's no wonder Senator Pryor would rather hide behind attack ads and staged media events rather than debating the issues in front of voters."

The new ad (embedded below) is a six-figure buy and is being run statewide starting Tuesday. 

(Second Cotton news release)

Pryor Takes Advantage Of Tornado Victim

Pryor's campaign lied to a tornado victim in order to film an attack ad on his property

Some people will do, quite literally, anything to win an election. For Exhibit A, see Senator Mark Pryor. 

Recently, Senator Mark Pryor's campaign contacted an Arkansan named Doug Boydston, owner of the property where Mayflower RV was destroyed during the tornadoes that ripped through Faulkner County in April. The Pryor campaign contacted Mr. Boydston under the guise of wanting to assist him with the cleanup efforts at his lot, which has been covered with storm debris since Mayflower RV was destroyed in April. Instead of assisting him, the Pryor campaign showed up on Mr. Boydston's property to film an attack ad against Tom Cotton, which the Pryor campaign posted to the video-sharing website Vimeo earlier this week. 

Mr. Boydston is sending Pryor's campaign a letter today demanding removal from Senator Pryor's website of any and all footage obtained on his property. In the letter, which can be viewed here, Mr. Boydston says:

"You obtained this footage under false pretenses, and I demand that you remove these videos and immediately stop all use of the raw footage. Neither you nor any outside group has my permission to use my property for your own gain."

"When you called me to request permission to hold an event at Mayflower RV, you told me that Senator Pryor and Mayor Holland would be present at the event to help bring attention to the tornado devastation and help me 'clean up.' Believing this, my wife and I invited a large group of friends to meet Senator Pryor and take part in the conversation about recovery."

"Shortly after your campaign’s arrival, we realized the truth, and we asked you to immediately pack your equipment and leave.  Had we realized your actual intent was to film a political ad, we would have rejected your offer and certainly would never have invited friends to attend such a farcical event."

In light of Senator Pryor's shameful deceptions, Mr. Boydston has offered his support to Tom Cotton in the race for U.S. Senate. Mr. Boydston has offered to place large signs along his property, which is clearly visible from Interstate 40 traveling in the westbound direction. 

Cotton spokesman David Ray said: "Spreading falsehoods about Tom Cotton's voting record is one thing, but lying to a tornado victim in order to film an attack ad on his storm-ravaged property is a new low. Senator Pryor should apologize to Mr. Boydston, remove the video filmed at Mr. Boydston's property from his campaign website, and agree to appear before voters to have a fair and honest debate with Tom Cotton about the real issues in this race."

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