Friendly Fire Between Cotton, NRSC

by Jonathan Strong

An attack by the National Republican Senatorial Committee on GOP representative Tom Cotton’s opponent in next year’s election, Senator Mark Pryor, is causing a stir.

The episode began when Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryror, with whom Cotton is locked in a tough race, released a television ad in which he holds up the Bible and calls it his “North Star.”

Many Arkansans praise Pryor for his deeply held faith — he is a member of “The Family,” an influential group of Christian political leaders — although he is pro-choice.

NRSC spokesman Brad Dayspring issued a statement noting that, last year, Pryor told a crowd the Bible “is really not a rulebook for political issues” and seemed to downplay its importance to his public role as a senator.

“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 said.

Interestingly, no one asked the Cotton campaign for comment. Instead, spokesman David Ray sent an unprompted comment to the Hill, ripping Dayspring. 

“That is an incredibly bizarre and offensive e-mail from the NRSC’s press secretary. 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,” Ray said.

The comment’s aggressive raised eyebrows, prompting questions of whether Cotton was trying to put distance between himself and the party.

It also prompted calls from Arkansas Democrats for Cotton to reject NRSC funds for his campaign, but Ray says that’s not happening.

“Of course we will accept the support of NRSC and conservatives around the country. We will need it. Senator Pryor has voted 95 percent of the time with President Obama, and his liberal allies will spend whatever it takes to try to reelect Senator Pryor,” Ray says.

Asked for comment about the Cotton camp’s attack, Dayspring stuck to the script: “Senator Pryor and his allies have assailed Tom’s service, his record, and his motives for months, but those empty and false attacks aren’t what voters care about. They know that this campaign is important because it is a choice between Mark Pryor, a rubber stamp for Obamacare and the Obama agenda or a new, independent, Arkansas first candidate in Tom Cotton. Over the next year, President Obama and Harry Reid will do anything, say anything, and spend anything to prop up Mark Pryor because he has been a pivotal vote for Obamacare, more spending and higher taxes,” he told NRO.

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