Club for Growth ad slams Pryor


WASHINGTON —The conservative Club for Growth announced Thursday a “six-figure” television ad in Arkansas against U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.

The ad, which will run on broadcast and cable stations beginning Friday, comes two weeks ahead of the formal kickoff for Pryor’s 2014 re-election campaign.

“Mark Pryor’s liberal record is out of touch with Arkansans, and it’s time to hold him accountable,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola, a former Republican congressman from Indiana.

Pryor decried the advertisement as “false and misleading” for claiming that he puts partisan interests ahead of Arkansas.

“Anyone in Arkansas who knows me knows I always put Arkansas first — not the president, a political party, and certainly not special interests,” Pryor said in a statement.

Pryor is launching his re-election campaign on March 16 in Little Rock with a fundraiser featuring former President Bill Clinton.

Club for Growth would not say exactly how much it is spending on the ad buy or detail where it will run, only that it would be in the “six figures” and run statewide on broadcast and cable outlets.

The ad cites Pryor’s support for health care reform, the stimulus bill and the financial services bailout as examples of Pryor backing Obama’s agenda.

“He’s supposed to be our senator, but Mark Pryor is really Barack Obama’s best ally in Arkansas,” the ad states. “When you vote for Pryor, you vote for Obama. It’s that simple.”

Pryor said he is among the most independent-minded senators in Congress, citing a recently published “scorecard” by National Journal.

Pryor had the third-most conservative voting record among Senate Democrats, according to the publication. A University of Georgia analysis ranked Pryor eighth most conservative Senate Democrat based on roll call votes over the last two years.

The U.S. Senate race in Arkansas is expected to be among the most contested in the nation in 2014, according to campaign handicappers. No Republican has announced for the race but U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, is being encouraged to consider a run.

Club for Growth backed Cotton in 2012, helping him defeat Beth Anne Rankin in a GOP primary. He easily defeated Democrat Gene Jeffries in the general election to succeed Democrat Mike Ross, who did not seek re-election last year to the 4th District congressional seat.