A compilation of inbox media advisories, press releases, tips, news clips, and notes from the campaign trail:
PRYOR VS. COTTON
The last 24 hours have been hectic in the world of Pryor vs. Cotton. The two campaigns and several of their operatives and supporters have ratcheted up the volleys between the two camps.
The topics: a government shutdown, the Farm Bill, Obamacare, missed votes, and overall voting records. Even former Sen. David Pryor (D), Mark’s father, got in on the action.
The threat of a federal government shutdown looks like it will play out into the 11th hour and 59th minute.
Pryor used his office to promote a message that a “reckless my-way-or-the-highway” approach would put Arkansas’ economy in jeopardy, particularly the state’s farmers. He took to the Senate floor to make a statement on the subject.
He said the lack of passage of a Farm Bill will have “negative ripple effects on the nation’s economy.” Not only will it impact farmers, Pryor said, he also touted other aspects of the agricultural bill, including clean drinking water in rural areas, housing, and nutrition programs.
“Funding these programs creates jobs in rural America,” Pryor said. “I think my colleagues will agree that strengthening our economy and creating jobs is our number one priority right now and this bill will help us do it.”
By happenstance, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) kicked out a press release on Thursday suggesting Cong. Tom Cotton’s Farm Bill position was “reckless” and will result in “devastating cuts” to farmers and “jeopardized” agricultural trade abroad.
“After being the only member of the Arkansas delegation to vote against the farm bill, Tom Cotton is showcasing just how badly misplaced his priorities are by continuing to play politics with Arkansas farmers and ranchers,” said Justin Barasky, a spokesman at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “Tom Cotton’s reckless and partisan plan to shut down the government makes clear he doesn’t care about the devastating consequences that allowing the farm bill to expire would have on farmers and ranchers in Arkansas and across the country. This bill is critical for thousands of farmers and families and they deserve thoughtful leaders in Washington who put their interests ahead of ideological special interests.”
A vote may come on Friday on the House floor that could progress the Farm Bill towards a conference committee, but it appears unlikely that any collective agreement will come before the bill expires on Monday.
The Pryor campaign launched a new web site touting a number of Cotton’s votes that the incumbent Democrat is all to eager to showcase differences. Www.CottonFacts.com is actually a jump page on the Pryor for Senate web site, but it highlights Cotton’s votes on Social Security, Medicare, student loans, disaster relief, support for Syrian intervention, and school lunches.
“Arkansans deserve to know the facts about Congressman Cotton’s irresponsible priorities, and voters are right to question why Cotton supports spending taxpayer billions in Syria while he votes to cut Medicare, Social Security and school lunches here at home,” said Jeff Weaver, Pryor for Senate campaign manager. “While Congressman Cotton takes his cues from the Washington special interests funding his political ambitions, it’s clear he isn’t listening to Arkansans.”
The Democratic Party of Arkansas will get in on the action later Friday. At 1pm, new DPA chairman Vince Insalaco will host a press conference call to discuss votes Cotton missed on Wednesday when he was reportedly in route to a fundraiser in Houston. Several sources say it was a Club for Growth and MavPAC fundraiser. The organizer of the fundraiser, Erika Sather, is director of development for the conservative Club for Growth. MavPAC is George P. Bush’s PAC.
“The government is only four days away from a potential shutdown, the Farm Bill expires on September 30th and the DPA thinks Congressman Cotton should have to answer questions as to whether he attended a fundraiser in Houston on Wednesday instead of staying in Washington to find a solution to the current crisis,” the DPA press advisory states.
Cotton forces pushed back on Pryor this week with a clear focus on Obamacare.
Cotton’s Senate campaign called on Pryor to support a one-year delay of the individual mandate, which has been a talking point since the Obama administration delayed the employer mandate earlier this summer.
On Thursday, the administration postponed enrollment in most of the small-business exchanges scheduled to open Oct. 1, which will certainly fuel discussion of other potential postponements or delays in enacting the law.
The Cotton camp cited West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who has suggested a delay in the individual mandate.
“Mark Pryor says he listens to Arkansans, but his voting record shows he actually listens to Barack Obama,” said Cotton for Senate Campaign Manager Justin Brasell. “This is an opportunity for Mark Pryor to finally do what’s right for Arkansas. He should join Congressman Tom Cotton and Senator Joe Manchin in calling on President Obama and the Democratic leadership to support a one-year delay of the individual mandate.”
On cue, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) called on Pryor to reverse course on the federal health care law. The NRSC press release stated:
This weekend, Majority Leader Harry Reid is giving Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor one last opportunity to save his Senate seat.
During legislative business this weekend, Majority Leader Harry Reid will likely offer a motion to strike the “defund Obamacare provision” that was included in the continuing resolution (CR) passed by the House. Should he do so, the Senate will then vote on the measure including funds for ObamaCare.
Republicans will oppose the measure, leaving Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor with a choice:
He can continue to put President Barack Obama first by voting to add funding for ObamaCare in a CR passed by the House of Representatives to keep the government operating, or;
He can finally stand up for middle-class workers and families in Arkansas by saying enough is enough and finally stop funding the highly unpopular health care law.
Mark Pryor has repeatedly tied himself to and defended the unpopular health care law that Democrats rammed through Congress in 2010 and that Arkansans oppose. But Pryor will now have a small window of opportunity to either dismantle ObamaCare once and for all, or double down on this costly overhaul.
It’s no secret that ObamaCare will impact Arkansas throughout the state: from the employers who are forced to cut workers to avoid costs from ObamaCare; to the families and individuals facing higher premiums and potentially losing their doctor.
With a Sept. 30 deadline approaching not only for government funding and farm policy, the end of the quarter also signifies the last-minute push for fundraising.
Mark Pryor’s father, David, was the lead in a fundraising email making the rounds on Thursday:
In all my years of service as a congressman, governor and senator, I learned one very valuable lesson: If you aren’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
Congressman Tom Cotton is against everything. He’s against lowering interest rates so Arkansas kids can go to college, against the Farm Bill and has repeatedly voted against the Violence Against Women Act. He’s even willing to force our government to shut down, even though it will hurt Arkansas seniors, small businesses and military families.
That’s just not the Arkansas way.
My son Mark stands for something – foremost is getting things done for Arkansas. It’s why he’s fought so hard to protect Social Security, Medicare and benefits for our veterans.
But right now, he needs our help. Mark’s campaign needs to raise $75,000 by midnight, September 30, before the FEC deadline. Can he count on you right now?
Click here to donate $5 or more – before the deadline, September 30 – to give Mark the resources to fight back against Cotton’s Super PAC supporters.
On a programming note: Sen. Mark Pryor will be our guest on KARK’s Capitol View this Sunday at 8:30 am. As you can see, we’ll have plenty to talk about.
ASA VS. ROSS
The end of the quarter is also going to create a stir in the Governor’s race. The Asa Hutchinson camp is quietly touting its “slow and steady wins the race” attitude. There is a downplaying of expectations for fundraising in the quarter.
The measurement will be “cash-on-hand,” say Hutchinson supporters. Asa is apparently spending little in the 2013 portion of the cycle in hopes of carrying a healthy balance into 2014 when he expects voters to more fully engage.
Ross is expected to have another big quarter, although nowhere near the $1.9 million he raised last time. If his “cash-on-hand” is over $2.5 million and Asa is under $1 million, expect some hand-wringing on the GOP side.
Ross is holding a press conference at the Wyndham Hotel in North Little Rock at 11am on Friday. A media advisory says county judges from across the state will join him.
A source close to the county judges says that more than 50 of the 75 judges will be in attendance and it would be fair to surmise it will be an endorsement. They are expected to all be Democrats, too.
Asa has picked up some endorsements in recent weeks as well. His web site is touting the following endorsements from Republican legislators:
Speaker Davy Carter
Senate Pro Temp Michael Lamoureux
Senate Pro Temp Elect Jonathan Dismang
Senator Cecile Bledsoe
Senator Ron Caldwell
Senator Bart Hester
Senator Alan Clark
Representative John Burris
Representative Jon Eubanks
Representative Bill Gossage
Representative Micah Neal
Representative Matthew Shepherd
Representative Andy Davis
Representative Nate Bell
Representative Justin Harris