LITTLE ROCK — U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, blanketed with criticism from the left and right in TV ads in Arkansas, is set to begin firing back with an ad of his own, his campaign said Thursday.
"No one from New York or Washington tells me what to do, I listen to Arkansas," the Democratic senator who is up for re-election next year says in the 30-second spot scheduled to begin running on network and cable television stations statewide Friday.
The ad is Pryor’s response to a $350,000 ad campaign launched last week by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group criticizing Pryor for opposing a Senate effort to strengthen background checks for gun sales.
"I listen to the people of Arkansas, not the mayor of New York City or Washington insiders who don’t know our state. I’m looking for real solutions to keep our families safe," Pryor says in the ad.
He adds that’s why he "opposed President Obama" — likely to be a frequent refrain in a tough re-election campaign among Arkansans who embrace gun rights and largely disdain the Democratic president — and his call for stiffer background checks that Pryor said would not have prevented mass shootings across the country, including the 1998 Jonesboro school shootings.
Pryor campaign manager Jeff Weaver would not discuss the cost of the ad buy, how long the ad would run or whether a separate ad is planned to respond to TV ads that a conservative super PAC is also running in Arkansas focusing on Pryor’s votes for Obamacare, the Wall Street bailout and the 2009 stimulus program.
Pryor announced in March that he would run for a third six-year term in 2014. No Republican has announced to run for Pryor’s seat next year, though U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, is seen as a likely candidate to challenge the incumbent.