Talk Business bloggers Michael Cook and Jason Tolbert debated the 2014 U.S. Senate race and other Arkansas political topics on this week’s TV and radio programs.
Tolbert, who frequently writes from the Republican perspective at The Tolbert Report, and Cook, who writes from the Democratic point-of-view at Cook’s Outlook, had contrasting opinions on Sen. Mark Pryor’s fate.
“He’s a Democrat in a state that Obama lost, John Kerry lost. He’s going to have a tough fight,” Cook said.
“I think the one saving grace for him is that he is where independent voters are on the background check issue,” Cook added.
“Once you get it into people’s heads that you’re in trouble, that you might not get re-elected, that’s a difficult dialogue to change,” said Tolbert.
“He might like talking about guns as much as we’re talking about guns because then he doesn’t have to talk about his vote for Obamacare,” Tolbert added.
Cook said the GOP wants to frame Pryor’s race around Pres. Obama, but Democrats and Pryor will play up his independent streak. Tolbert said Obama would be a hindrance for Pryor, but it was “too soon to tell” what the defining issue of the campaign might be.
One reason the race is far from settled is that Pryor doesn’t have an announced opponent, although conventional wisdom is that Fourth District Cong. Tom Cotton (R ) will challenge him.
Cook says Cotton’s ascent is “too far too fast.”
“The man’s been in Congress for five minutes. He has no real significant legislative proposals. He just found out where the bathrooms are 3 days ago and now he wants to be a U.S. Senator?” Cook asked.
Tolbert said Cotton will bring several key assets to the race.
“The strength of Tom Cotton is going to be that he’s going to raise a ton of money, he’ll have a very well-funded campaign. And he’ll run a very disciplined campaign. He’ll stay on message. They’ll decide what they’re gong to talk about and he’ll stay true to that,” Tolbert said.
What do Tolbert and Cook think about Dustin McDaniel’s political future, the Lt. Governor’s race, and the private option repeal ballot measure effort? Watch the video below to find out.