Democratic State Sen. Gene Jeffress’ campaign for Congress is largely a grassroots campaign. Many of his volunteer campaign workers are his family members. These supporters defend him passionately on Twitter.
Sometimes things get a bit worked up and that seemed to the be case last night when words escalated to the point where Jeffress’ daughter accused his Republican opponent Tom Cotton of being “gay.”
You can see the tweet above from Terra Purifoy, daughter of Jeffress, who states that Cotton (tcot) gets “a manicure for soft hands.” She asks, “Do farmers get manicures?” She concludes with the hashtag – “gay?” She continued in several subsequent tweets where she brought up the prior “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding gay service members.
Purifoy went on to imply that Cotton – a veteran who recently returned from the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan – might be suffering from PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder.
The next day Purifoy apologized for the remarks saying, “Please accept my apologies. My comments were out of line. I was defending my Dad against critics questioning his character.”
It is not completely clear what criticism she is referring to but Jeffress has been criticized for several misstatements in recent days.
Earlier this week, Jeffress told the Associated Press he thinks Cotton’s military service is being “overdone.” This drew blow-back from several veterans’ groups, including harsh words from someone posting under the Twitter account “Combat4Cotton” – which was mentioned in some of Purifoy’s tweets and an account which has since seen deleted. Previously, this account said that it was “supporting a battle-tested leader and combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan for US Congress from the 4th District of Arkansas.”
Jeffress also used a racial slur for Indians at a recent townhall meeting.
Jeffress and Cotton face off in a debate tonight at 7:00 pm at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia which can be viewed via live stream here. Our latest Talk Business poll shows Cotton with a comfortable lead with 51 percent to Jeffress’ 22 percent.