Tags: Mark Pryor

Senate Dem Draws a Blank When Asked about Obama’s Ebola Policy


Senator Mark Pryor (D., Ark.) struggled badly when asked if President Obama is handling the Ebola crisis properly, letting out a long “um” before deciding that “it’s hard to know” the answer, even though his Senate campaign has attacked Representative Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) on the issue.

“My impression is that we have people over there both from CDC and other medical-type people, and even some engineers to try to build, you know, medical facilities — that’s what they need over there, they need the medical infrastructure,” Pryor told NBC’s Kasie Hunt.

Cotton, who wants Obama to suspend flights from Ebola-affected countries due to a concern that terrorists would send infected people to the United States, seized on Pryor’s struggle with the question.

“Tom Cotton has taken a serious, measured response to the Ebola crisis, joining Arkansas’s other three Congressmen last week in sending a letter to President Obama that calls for common-sense measures to step up our country’s preparedness against the Ebola outbreak,” spokesman David Ray says. “Serious times demand serious leaders, and that’s not what Arkansans are getting from Senator Pryor.”

This isn’t the first time Pryor has struggled with an apparent softball of a question from Hunt. In March, he couldn’t answer a question about Cotton’s military service without a gaffe.

“I think that’s part of this sense of entitlement, that [Cotton] gives off, that almost is like, ‘I served my country, therefore let me into the Senate,’” Pryor said.

Tags: Arkansas , Tom Cotton , Mark Pryor , 2014 Midterms

‘Mark Pryor Is a Stand-In for a National Power Grab...’


A Super PAC called Conservative War Chest will begin a new barrage of ads Tuesday against Arkansas Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor. A 60-second spot and “a groundbreaking 2-minute commercial will run on the 10 p.m. news this week and blanket the Sunday morning political shows in the Little Rock and Fort Smith media markets.”

The commercial is a soup-to-nuts cavalcade of criticism of Pryor — runaway federal agencies, Obamacare, an assault on the First Amendment, persecution of Little Sisters of the Poor, driving mentions of God in the public square, abortion on demand, degrading military readiness, taxes, debt, and a closing ”Tell the Gang of Five, ‘you can’t have America and the U.S. Senate!’” The mainstream media will probably scoff at the ad for being over the top, but by tying Pryor to the most liberal, extreme, and divisive elements of the Democratic coalition, it’s just a mirror image of the Democrats’ approach to Todd Akin in 2012. 

A similar “Gang of Five” ad ran against Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe in last year’s Virginia gubernatorial race.

Tags: Mark Pryor , Advertising

Mark Pryor, Campaigning on Saving the Export-Import Bank


Is corporate welfare an easy sell on the campaign trail? In Arkansas, embattled Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor is “traveling to a Hot Springs water company to talk about jobs legislation he’s proposed and to call for the reauthorization of the Export-Import bank.”

Our Veronique de Rugy calculated that Arkansas businesses received four-tenths of one percent of Export-Import Bank expenditures from 2007 to 2014. The largest share, by far, was Washington state — more than 43 percent! — because of Boeing, one of the bank’s biggest beneficiaries.

The Export-Import Bank backs 1.5 percent of exports generated in Arkansas.

Mark Pryor may not be so great at representing Arkansas, but he sure gives 100 percent to help big companies in Washington!

Our ​John Fund called the Export-Import Bank “essentially a form of corporate welfare for giant multinationals,” and called the coming fight over the bank “a moment of truth on corporate welfare.”

Pryor’s rival, Rep. Tom Cotton, offered potential reforms for the Export-Import Bank at a 2013 hearing

Tags: Mark Pryor , export-import bank , Tom Cotton

Tom Cotton, Scott Brown Hit Democratic Rivals on Illegal Immigration


In Arkansas, GOP Rep. Tom Cotton hits incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Pryor for “voting for amnesty”, “voting for citizenship for illegals” and “voting against a border fence” in a new television ad.

Scott Brown also focused on illegal immigration in a new television ad:

Tags: Scott Brown , Tom Cotton , Mark Pryor , Jeanne Shaheen , Illegal Immigration

Looking Ahead to Tuesday’s Not-So-Thrilling Primary Battles


From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

Looking Ahead to Tuesday’s Not-So-Thrilling Primary Battles

Boy, hype it much, USA Today?

Perhaps they don’t mean this coming Tuesday.

As a campaign correspondent, I’m arguing against interest by telling you that Tuesday’s primaries probably aren’t going to be that surprising or earth-shattering, but . . . come on. I can’t lie to you.

USA Today writes, “Senate contests in Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky are critical to determining who will control the Senate next year.” Okay, sure. But Tuesday’s primaries aren’t what make them critical.

In Kentucky, here’s the last Bluegrass poll before the primary:

The poll found that 55 percent of likely GOP voters support McConnell, while 35 percent favor Bevin. Three other Republican candidates split 5 percent of the vote, with the remaining 5 percent undecided.

But the poll found that McConnell is in a statistical dead heat with a November showdown looming, with 43 percent favoring her and 42 percent backing McConnell, a five-term incumbent. McConnell would do slightly better in a head-to-head match-up with Grimes than Bevin would.

Cheer up, Bevin fans — that 20-percentage-point ;margin for McConnell is his smallest lead yet! But, er . . . it’s pretty tough to make up that much ground in the final days.

As for the general election, that one-point lead for Grimes is the first she’s enjoyed since February, and only the second poll showing her ahead since . . . December 2012. McConnell’s no slam-dunk, but his sharp-elbowed, well-funded campaign went to work making sure Matt Bevin never amounted to a serious primary threat, and it appears to be on the verge of success. Let’s just see what happens when all of that advertising, organizing and volunteer firepower gets concentrated on his Democratic opponent.

Moving farther south, USA Today notes, “In Arkansas, Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor and Republican challenger Rep. Tom Cotton will clinch their respective nominations in a state considered one of the GOP’s best chances for a pickup because of the conservative lean of the state.” So again, there’s nothing dramatic or meaningful about Tuesday’s primary.

That race currently features a weird split in the polls. Three of the last six polls say incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor is doing fine — up 10 or 11 points. But the other three point to a close race — Pryor by 1, Cotton by 3, Pryor by 3. Undoubtedly, Cotton’s going to need to kick it up a notch in his television advertising — and most of his ads have been pretty darn good!


In Georgia, a crowded seven-way Senate primary will be whittled to two for a July 22 runoff as no candidate is likely to earn the 50% necessary to clinch the nomination. The eventual winner will face Democrat Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn, who Democrats have touted as their best 2014 recruit.

The runoff will probably go to David Purdue (former CEO of Reebok and Dollar General) and Representative Jack Kingston. (Karen Handel has a shot to make the runoff, but not a great one.) Purdue polled well against Nunn until very recently. This is Georgia, where Democrats last won a statewide race in 1998. Democrats are getting their hopes up about Nunn’s ability to run on her father’s reputation, but notice this little wrinkle:

Under Georgia law, any race in which no candidate clears 50 percent on Nov. 4 heads to a runoff between the top two candidates. And thanks to a court ruling delaying any federal runoffs so that overseas voters have sufficient time to cast their ballots, there will actually be two separate runoffs, if needed: one on Dec. 2, for the governor’s race, and another on Jan. 6, for the Senate contest. . . . 

The 2008 elections offer a relevant illustration. Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss was just barely forced into a runoff after receiving 49.8 percent of the vote in November, while Democrat Jim Martin narrowly trailed with 46.8 percent. But in December, just a month later, turnout dropped by a hefty 43 percent, from 3.7 million to 2.1 million, and Chambliss triumphed by a wide margin, 57 to 43.

Could a Democrat beat a Republican head-to-head in a runoff election in Georgia? Sure, it’s possible. Just very, very, very difficult.

Tags: Mitch McConnell , Matt Bevin , Tom Cotton , Mark Pryor , Georgia

Hagan and Landrieu Are in Trouble . . . But Pryor’s Okay?


From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

Hagan and Landrieu Are in Trouble . . . But Pryor’s Okay? Really?

This morning the New York Times drops a poll showing most southern Democratic senators up for reelection this year in trouble, with one striking exception:

Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas, a two-term incumbent who has been considered perhaps the most imperiled Democratic senator in the country, holds a 10-point lead over his Republican opponent, Representative Tom Cotton.

Kind of out of whack compared to other polling so far this year, showing a neck-and-neck race. Democrats will undoubtedly begin the victory party, but we’ll see if the Times’s sample is just an outlier, showing them what they want to see.

Elsewhere the Times poll finds:

Senator Kay Hagan, Democrat of North Carolina, appears more endangered as she seeks a second term. She has the support of 42 percent of voters, and Thom Tillis, the Republican state House speaker and front-runner for his party’s nomination, is at 40 percent.

In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, is also effectively tied with his Democratic rival, Alison Lundergan Grimes, a race that may be close because Mr. McConnell, first elected to the Senate in 1984, has the approval of only 40 percent of voters, while 52 percent disapprove. But Ms. Grimes must overcome Mr. Obama’s deep unpopularity in the state, where only 32 percent of voters approve of his performance.

For what it’s worth, you don’t see Republicans as worried about McConnell as they were late last year.

With 42 percent support, Senator Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, has an early lead in a race that is not fully formed against a large field of Republicans. Representative Bill Cassidy, the Republican front-runner, was the choice of 18 percent, and 20 percent had no opinion. There are two other Republicans in the race, but Louisiana has no primary. So all candidates of both parties will be on the ballot in November and, absent one of them taking 50 percent, there will be a runoff in December.

So the more important number is Landrieu’s 42 percent, nowhere near enough to avoid a runoff at this point and a decent opportunity for Cassidy to put together a majority in the runoff.

Tags: Kay Hagan , Mary Landrieu , Mark Pryor

Pryor, Walsh Disappoint Liberals. Any Consequences, Guys?


ThinkProgress is not pleased that seven Senate Democrats just voted with Republicans to reject the nomination of Debo Adegbile, President Obama’s choice to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Adegbile’s nomination was opposed by the Fraternal Order of Police in part because of his legal efforts to overturn the death sentence of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted in the 1981 killing of a Philadelphia police officer.

Those seven are, clockwise from top left, Senators Chris Coons of Delaware, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, John Walsh of Montana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

Well, progressives and liberals, if you really wanted to send a signal, you could refuse to donate to the DNC and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee this year, since they’ll be going all-out to help Mark Pryor and John Walsh win in 2014. (Coons is running for reelection and is considered safe.) You could even pledge to sit out those races, concluding that Pryor and Walsh won’t be there for you on the hard votes, the ones where you really see whether a lawmaker is committed to your values.

But I suspect you’ll just take it and learn to like it.

Tags: Mark Pryor , John Walsh

Tom Cotton: I’ll Stand Up to Obama or Leaders of My Own Party


Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, a National Review favorite, is officially running for Senate in Arkansas and just posted his first ad – emphasizing his small-town roots, learning “true grit,” and his acceptance of the label as “a young man in a hurry.” He emphasizes his willingness to stand up to both Barack Obama and the leaders of the GOP.

Here’s how Jay Nordlinger described him in a 2012 profile:

Tom Cotton is a Republican’s dream, and, for many Democrats, a nightmare. Here is his bio, in brief:

Born and raised in rural Arkansas. Harvard College. Harvard Law School. Is profoundly affected by 9/11. Resolves to join the military. Is advised to serve in the JAG Corps. Refuses. Is trained as an Army Ranger. Leads troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is now running for Congress: a young, brainy, broadly educated, likable, down-home war veteran.

Bob Costa laid out how Cotton is leading the right flank of the GOP on immigration; Eliana Johnson examined his fundraising.

Cotton is, so far, the only Republican running against incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor.

Tags: Tom Cotton , Mark Pryor

Mark Pryor: I Don’t Take Orders From Mayor Bloomberg


Boy, Democratic senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas is really running scared of his vote against the Toomey-Manchin background-check bill, huh? Here’s his first campaign ad of this cycle:

Why, it’s almost as if Pryor expects President Obama’s Organizing for Action and most liberal commentators to fall in line . . . it’s almost as if he fears no challenge in the Arkansas Democratic primary . . . it’s almost as if he thinks that most Democrats give lip service to the issue of gun control, and care most about keeping folks with a “D” after their name in office.

Oh, and it’s almost as if Mike Bloomberg’s activism is actually counterproductive to the causes he prefers in the red states.

Tags: Mark Pryor , Mike Bloomberg

How Much Influence Does Organizing for Action Have in Red States?


If this really comes to pass, I will be surprised:

Jon Carson, executive director of Organizing for Action, told the Los Angeles Times / Tribune Washington Bureau on Thursday that the group will train its resources against the 45 senators who opposed the legislation, including Democrats Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

“What is happening right now is the reason that OFA needs to be here: to harness the energy and determination of people,” Carson said. “I think everyone would agree that the American people are on our side on this…. We need to show that the 90% on our side have staying power.”

“This is one of those moments where we have to prove that in the face of a setback we’re not backing down,” he added. “That’s the calculation that some senators were mistaken on…. The consequences they’re going to have to face are a bunch of angry constituents who are going to keep the issue alive.”

Carson said Organizing for Action will also demonstrate support for those who backed the measure, including the Republican co-sponsor, Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania.

“Our volunteers are ready to show Pat Toomey how much they appreciate his leadership,” he said.

The group plans to launch sustained campaigns in which constituents will call and tweet lawmakers, write letters to the editor and hold local events spotlighting their support for gun control. Its next major effort comes Saturday, when supporters are organizing rallies and other events in the states of key senators.

Calls and Tweets, letters to the editor, local rallies with mid-level attendance… eh, most incumbent senators don’t fear those actions, unless they come in overwhelming numbers. One of the big questions is just how many Organizing for Action members reside in Montana, Alaska, and Arkansas. compiled a sortable, downloadable list of the 1,428 donors who gave more than $250. They list four donors in Alaska, who contributed $1,375; four donors in Arkansas, who contributed $51,500; and three donors in Montana, who contributed $1,250. In Pennsylvania, the group lists 34 donors who contributed $12,888. As you might expect, those are small fractions compared to states like California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts and Maryland.

As I wrote this morning, the rhetoric of the president and his supporters would suggest that the defeat of Baucus, Begich, and Pryor is a priority. But the real question will be whether any of their fury over yesterday’s vote translates into support for a pro-gun-control primary challenger. The filing deadline for a party candidate in Montana and Arkansas is March 2014; for Alaska the deadline is June 2014.

Tags: Organizing for Action , Mark Pryor , Mark Begich , Max Baucus

Gun Control Rhetoric Is For Show Without Primary Challenges


Okay, gun control supporters, including President Obama. Let’s see if you’ll put your money where your mouth is.  If you’re so totally convinced by that 90 percent poll figure you keep throwing around, if you’re so utterly certain that your viewpoint represents the will of the American people, let’s see you back pro-gun-control challengers to the three Democrats who voted against the Toomey-Manchin compromise who are up for reelection in 2014: Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Mark Begich of Alaska.

Because if you really believe that voting “no” on that proposal is the equivalent to voting for more dead children, you can’t say that it’s an utterly unforgivable act for the Republican senators but an understandable concession to public will for the Democrat senators.

(Well, you can, but that will just reveal that you’re partisan hacks, posturing opportunists who use the emotion of the Newtown horror as a cudgel against your Republican opponents, with no real principled opposition to their position, since it’s acceptable from a Red State Democrat.)

Here’s how Obama tried to thread the needle yesterday:

A  few minutes ago, 90 percent of Democrats in the Senate voted for that idea. But it’s not going to happen, because 90 percent of Republicans in the Senate just voted against that idea…

It came down to politics. They worried that that vocal minority of gun-owners would come after them in future elections. They worried that the gun lobby would spend a lot of money and paint them as anti-Second Amendment. And obviously a lot of Republicans had that fear, but Democrats had that fear, too. And so they caved to the pressure, and they started looking for an excuse, any excuse, to vote no.

If you really think that the only reason to not vote for the bill was shameless politics, you can’t later on tell us that Baucus, Pryor and Begich are good senators who deserve reelection. You can’t come to their states for fundraisers, and you can’t go to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee events where you know the cash will be used to try to keep them in office. You can’t mobilize Organizing for Action to pull out all the stops to keep them in office, because you prefer a ‘D’ who votes for more dead children (your rhetoric, not mine) over an ‘R’ who would cast the same vote.

Of course, there’s almost no chance Obama or the DSCC or OFA will take these steps. Bloomberg’s groups may throw money at pro-gun control challengers, but that’s because they’ve got oodles of money; in all likelihood, they’ll help some no-name gun control advocate go from single-digit support in a Red State Democratic primary to double digits.

What yesterday’s vote demonstrated is that nobody really believes that a vote against the Toomey-Manchin compromise is the moral equivalent to voting for more dead children. And that all of this hyperventilating on camera is empty rhetoric.

Tags: Gun Control , Barack Obama , Max Baucus , Mark Pryor , Mark Begich

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