Dems pouring $3.6 million into Arkansas ads against Cotton

WASHINGTON — The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Tuesday began a $3.6 million advertising campaign in Arkansas against Republican Senate challenger Tom Cotton.

The DSCC campaign opens with a 30-second television commercial that criticizes Cotton, a freshman member of the House of Representatives, for voting against legislation that would provide federal funding to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

“Tom Cotton is the only member of the Arkansas congressional delegation who voted against funding for Arkansas’ only children’s hospital and with a record like that, it’s crystal clear that Tom Cotton’s priorities aren’t on the side of Arkansas children or their families,” said Justin Barasky, a spokesman at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “Over the next three months the DSCC will highlight why Arkansans can’t trust Tom Cotton.”

David Ray, a spokesman for Cotton’s Senate campaign, said the DSCC ad is “patently false.”

Ray said that Cotton has voted in favor of appropriations bills for the National Institutes of Health and Department of Health and Human Services, through which the children’s hospital receives federal funds.

The DSCC advertisement cites Cotton’s vote against a House bill that would have established a National Pediatric Research Network, which would have benefited the Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Ray said that Cotton later supported a Senate bill that included the program. The House approved the Senate bill on a voice vote.

Brook Hougesen, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, called the ad campaign an act of desperation.

“This is desperation, a last-ditch effort by Democrats in Washington to convince the liberal millionaires in Hollywood and New York that are funding Mark Pryor’s campaign that he is still viable,” she said.

The NRSC has reserved nearly $2 million in television advertising for Arkansas that will start in mid-August and run through the first week of November. The NRSC and Cotton campaign have also jointly reserved nearly $440,000 in advertising time between mid-August and the first week of September.

The Cotton campaign is currently running an anti-Pryor ad that focuses on immigration and border security policies.

“Washington has made a mess on our southern border by refusing to enforce our immigration laws year after year. Senator Pryor’s solution has been to vote for a Senate bill providing amnesty and to allow President Obama to continue with his planned executive amnesty. That’s a position that is out-of-touch with Arkansas, and I will continue to insist that we secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws,” Cotton said.

The Pryor campaign disputes the ad.

“If Congressman Cotton were being honest, he’d tell Arkansans how Mark Pryor repeatedly bucked his party and President Obama by supporting a double-layer fence on the border, and that Mark last year voted for the strongest border security measures ever proposed,” said Pryor campaign spokesman Erik Dorey.