The Latest Conservative Attack Against Mark Pryor

Group goes up with ad attacking vulnerable Democrat’s record on judges.

Sen. Mark Pryor attends a fundraiser, with former President Bill Clinton and his father, former Gov. David Pryor, in attendance.
National Journal
Alex Roarty
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Alex Roarty
Nov. 8, 2013, 11:39 a.m.

Re­pub­lic­ans have at­tacked Sen. Mark Pry­or, D-Ark., for back­ing Pres­id­ent Obama’s agenda on everything from health care to im­mig­ra­tion. Start­ing Sat­urday, you can add an­oth­er is­sue to the anti-Obama list: judges.

A new ad from the con­ser­vat­ive third-party group Ju­di­cial Crisis Net­work cri­ti­cizes the Demo­crat­ic in­cum­bent from Arkan­sas for back­ing Pres­id­ent Obama’s ju­di­cial nom­in­ees, in­clud­ing Su­preme Court Justices Elena Kagan and So­nia So­to­may­or. The 30-second spot will run for two weeks in the Little Rock me­dia mar­ket, the state’s largest, with an ad buy worth more than $100,000, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials fa­mil­i­ar with the ad. It will be on air for two weeks.

“When Mark Pry­or rub­ber stamps Obama’s lib­er­al judges, it hurts Arkan­sas,” the ad in­tones. “Enough is enough: Tell Mark Pry­or to go to work for Arkan­sas, not Obama.”

The ad also ref­er­ences, al­though not by name, the loom­ing battle over three of Obama’s nom­in­ees to the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the D.C. Cir­cuit, say­ing Pry­or is “help­ing Obama pack a key court with new lib­er­al judges.” Next week, the Sen­ate is ex­pec­ted to vote wheth­er to con­firm Geor­getown law pro­fess­or Cor­ne­lia Pil­lard to one of the posts.

The GOP plans to take down Pry­or, gen­er­ally con­sidered the Demo­crats’ most vul­ner­able in­cum­bent dur­ing next year’s mid-term elec­tions, by ag­gress­ively link­ing him to the pres­id­ent, who is deeply un­pop­u­lar in deeply con­ser­vat­ive Arkan­sas. Usu­ally, that means men­tion­ing Pry­or’s votes in fa­vor of Obama­care or the stim­u­lus pack­age.  Arkan­sas Rep. Tom Cot­ton, Pry­or’s ex­pec­ted Re­pub­lic­an chal­lenger, echoed the ad’s ar­gu­ment in a state­ment Fri­day.

“Wheth­er it’s Sen­at­or Mark Pry­or’s de­cid­ing vote for Obama­care or his rub­ber-stamp­ing of Obama’s left-wing ju­di­cial nom­in­ees, one thing is clear: Sen­at­or Pry­or al­ways puts Pres­id­ent Obama first,” said Cot­ton spokes­man Dav­id Ray.

“An­oth­er day, an­oth­er false at­tack from Tom Cot­ton’s Wash­ing­ton spe­cial in­terest pals try­ing to smear Mark Pry­or be­cause he looks after Arkansans,” re­spon­ded Pry­or spokes­man Erik Dorey. 

But these spots high­lights some of the sen­at­or’s less­er known ju­di­cial votes, and un­der­score the dif­fi­culty red-state in­cum­bents like Pry­or can have try­ing to dis­tance them­selves from Obama. The two-term in­cum­bent has tried to carve out an in­de­pend­ent iden­tity on sev­er­al high-pro­file is­sues this year, like vot­ing against ex­pan­ded gun-sale back­ground checks and voicing con­tin­ued op­pos­i­tion to gay mar­riage. 

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