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Tom Cotton vs. the NRSC

GOP spokesman's questioning of Mark Pryor's faith causes uproar—from fellow Republican's campaign.


Brad Dayspring's remarks about the religion of Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor are denounced by Arkansas Republican Senate candidate Tom Cotton.(Chet Susslin)

It's never good when a party committee is denounced by a member of its own party. But that's what happened Wednesday, when the Senate campaign of GOP Rep. Tom Cotton of Arkansas denounced as "bizarre and offensive" an attack from the National Republican Senatorial Committee on the religious faith of Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.

Pryor, widely believed to be the nation's most vulnerable incumbent Democrat, launched a television ad on Wednesday clutching a Bible and calling it "my compass, my North Star."


NRSC Communications Director Brad Dayspring, known across Washington for his aggressive style, wrote a blog post about some of Pyror's past comments about the Bible, including a statement last year that it "is really not a rule book for political issues."

"So is the Bible Mark Pryor's compass, providing the 'comfort and guidance to do what's best for Arkansas?' Or is it really not a good rule book for political issues and decisions made in the Senate? Guess it depends on which Mark Pryor that you ask," Dayspring wrote.

Predictably, Pryor's campaign objected. More interestingly, so too did Cotton's campaign team.


"That is an incredibly bizarre and offensive email from the NRSC's press secretary," Cotton spokesman David Ray said in an email. "We should all agree that America is better off when all our public officials in both parties have the humility to seek guidance from God."

It's relatively rare for a candidate to openly rebuke his own party committee. But Dayspring's quick sharp tongue and quick retorts have already caused some headaches for the NRSC. Earlier this year, he said Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes was an "empty dress." Democrats have pounced on the remark and used it to build the case that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP campaign are "sexist."

After Cotton's denunciation, Dayspring said in an email, "Tom Cotton is a good man who puts Arkansas first."

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