Pryor camp defends ObamaCare vote against GOP criticism


WASHINGTON — Sen. Mark Pryor’s campaign team touted the benefits of the Affordable Care Act to Arkansas as another television ad criticizing his 2009 vote was released Wednesday.

In response to the latest ad from a conservative super PAC, Pryor’s campaign pointed to a 2013 Rand Corporation study that found ObamaCare would create 6,200 new jobs in Arkansas, boost the state economy by $550 million a year, and provide health coverage to 400,000 uninsured Arkansans.

“These out-of-state special interest groups continue to push their own agendas in Arkansas,” said Jeff Weaver, campaign manager for Pryor. “Arkansas is smarter than that. We don’t bend to bully tactics and lies.”

Senate Conservatives Action on Wednesday released the third of three television ads it is using as part of a $320,000 advertising campaign urging voters to reject Pryor in the 2014 mid-term elections. The ad campaign began last month and is running on television stations in Little Rock and Fort Smith.

The latest ad – like the one before it - focuses on Pryor’s support for President Obama’s signature health care reform legislation that cleared the Senate in 2009 with no vote to spare.

An announcer notes that Pryor was the “deciding vote” for ObamaCare and that he won’t vote to repeal it. The ad then flashes to a series of Arkansans who complain that Pryor could have stopped ObamaCare and that he is a liberal who has “left us.”

The 30-second commercial does not identify the Arkansans who criticize Pryor but they were identified in a press release from the super PAC. They are (in order of appearance): Joanna Curtis of Benton, Glenn Gallas of Hot Springs, Janet Crow of Conway, Dr. Earl Peeples of Little Rock, Dale Custer of Little Rock, Catherine Jones of North Little Rock, Liz Edwards of Sherwood and Nic Horton of Searcy.

The Senate voted 60-39 in favor of the Affordable Care Act, with 60 votes needed for passage. The vote split along party lines with no Democrat in opposition and no Republican in favor.

Pryor announced in March that he would run for a third six-year term in 2014. No Republican has announced to run for Pryor’s seat next year, though U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, is seen as a likely candidate to challenge the incumbent.

Senate Conservative Action, headquartered in Maryland, is the political arm of the Senate Conservatives Fund, a group launched by former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who now heads the Heritage Foundation.