Tom Cotton vs. the NRSC

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

PAC your bags: Dayspring leaves Cantor's office.
National Journal
Shane Goldmacher
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Shane Goldmacher
Dec. 4, 2013, 1:04 p.m.

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.”

What We're Following See More »
Report: Trump Asked FBI to Deny Russia Stories
2 days ago

"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."

How Many Signatures Has the Petition for Trump’s Tax Returns Received?
3 days ago

More than 1 million, setting a record. More than 100,000 signatures triggers an official White House response.

Sen. Collins Open to Subpoena of Trump’s Tax Returns
3 days ago

Sen. Susan Collins, who sits on the Intelligence Committee, "said on Wednesday she's open to using a subpoena to investigate President Donald Trump's tax returns for potential connections to Russia." She said the committee is also open to subpoenaing Trump himself. "This is a counter-intelligence operation in many ways," she said of Russia's interference. "That's what our committee specializes in. We are used to probing in depth in this area."

Obama Staffers Launch Group to Monitor Trump Ethics
3 days ago

"Top lawyers who helped the Obama White House craft and hold to rules of conduct believe President Donald Trump and his staff will break ethics norms meant to guard against politicization of the government — and they’ve formed a new group to prepare, and fight. United to Protect Democracy, which draws its name from a line in President Barack Obama’s farewell address that urged his supporters to pick up where he was leaving off, has already raised a $1.5 million operating budget, hired five staffers and has plans to double that in the coming months." Meanwhile, NPR has launched a "Trump Ethics Monitor" to track the resolution of ten ethics-related promises that the president has made.


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.