WASHINGTON — Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., is airing a new campaign ad statewide in Arkansas blasting Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, for playing politics during a government shutdown.
The 30-second television spot responds directly to a Cotton campaign advertisement running this week that slams Pryor for his continued support of the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare.
“It’s important that folks in Arkansas know that Congressman Cotton isn’t leveling with them, having decided to kick off his Senate ambitions with blatantly false attacks just nine months after Arkansans sent him to Washington,” said Jeff Weaver, Pryor for Senate campaign manager.
Cotton is challenging Pryor’s bid for a third term in the Senate.
Cotten’s camp is spending more than $67,000 for its ad. Pryor’s campaign would not say how much it spent.
Cotton’s campaign defended its advertisement and reiterated the claim that Pryor prefers shutting down the government to giving up a special Obamacare subsidy enjoyed by Congress. The claim has been debunked by several fact-check organizations.
“It is stunning that Mark Pryor still believes that Obamacare is good policy and that he and other senators deserve a special subsidy that taxpayers buying insurance as individuals don’t get,” said Justin Brasell, a spokesman for Cotton’s Senate campaign. “The facts are clear that Pryor cast the deciding vote for Obamacare, he is still voting to keep his special personal Senatorial subsidy, and he refuses even a reasonable one-year delay in a program that is not working.”
The Pryor ad claims that Cotton is “reckless and irresponsible” for running “frivolous ads at this critical time.” It also claims that Cotton missed votes when Congress was debating whether to shut down the government to raise campaign cash from Texas fat cats.
Cotton missed two roll-call votes taken during a Saturday session as the shutdown neared. He was in Houston raising funds for his campaign. The votes he missed were not related to the government shutdown and both passed by comfortable margins.
Along with the campaign ads, Club for Growth Action announced Tuesday a new “six-figure” television ad campaign slamming Pryor for voting against defunding Obamacare.
“Mark Pryor’s support for Obamacare is catching up with him, and his decision to treat himself differently from the average Arkansan will hurt him at the ballot box next November,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola.
Pryor’s campaign dismissed the Club for Growth ad as more of the same debunked claims.
“This ad is false, and just like Congressman Cotton, it was paid for by Washington special interests,” Weaver said.