LITTLE ROCK — Democrat John Burkhalter went on the offensive Thursday in the lieutenant governor’s race, launching a new television ad that labels Republican opponent U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin as a career politician with a record of votes that hurt Arkansas workers.

LITTLE ROCK — Democrat John Burkhalter went on the offensive Thursday in the lieutenant governor’s race, launching a new television ad that labels Republican opponent U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin as a career politician with a record of votes that hurt Arkansas workers.


Griffin, R-Little Rock, responded that he has only been in Congress four years and has a pro-growth, pro-jobs record, while Burkhalter is an "ally" of President Barack Obama.


The ad opens with a photo of Griffin against a background of the U.S. Capitol. A voice-over states, "Tim Griffin: Nearly 20 years in Washington. His record on jobs? Griffin voted against tax cuts for local jobs. Griffin even voted for tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas, while voting against job training our workers need."


Burkhalter then appears on screen and says, "Politicians like Tim Griffin just don’t get it. I’ve been a small businessman my whole life, creating jobs and helping Gov. (Mike) Beebe recruit major employers. It’s time for career politicians to get out of the way so Arkansas can thrive."


Burkhalter owns a North Little Rock construction company and is a former state highway commissioner and former chairman of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.


Griffin, a second-term House member, is a former assistant to President George W. Bush and a former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. He also has held positions with the Republican National Committee, the office of Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff and George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign.


In a conference call with reporters Thursday, Burkhalter said that "I am the jobs candidate in this race" and that Griffin’s career consists of "20 years of playing political games — and Arkansans are paying the price."


Griffin said in a statement Thursday, "My opponent’s new ad forgets to mention that he is Obama’s preferred candidate, and the last thing Arkansans want is an Obama ally in the lieutenant governor’s office. I’ve fought hard against Obama’s harmful policies. Only in a Burkhalter-Obama economy would my four years of service be considered a ‘career’ and a pro-growth, pro-jobs record be considered bad."


Burkhalter’s campaign said Griffin voted against the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which preserved most of the Bush-era tax cuts but raised taxes on some higher-income earners. Griffin’s campaign responded that Griffin supported the House version of the bill "after President Obama and Senate Democrats decided to add billions of dollars in unacceptable wasteful spending."


The Burkhalter camp said Griffin also voted against amending the Small Business Tax Cut Act to deny tax breaks for companies that send U.S. jobs overseas. The Griffin camp said the amendment was proposed by the Democratic House minority and would have delayed or killed the underlying bill.


Burkhalter’s campaign also said Griffin voted against the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act, a bill to extend trade adjustment assistance for American workers displaced by foreign trade. The Griffin campaign said Griffin voted for a bill to fund workforce training but voted against extending the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act because an American University study found it was not helping people get jobs.