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Arkansas Senate Race Garners National Attention


With just over six months to go before the general election, Arkansas’ air waves have been targeted by national political parties and special-interest groups that have taken a particular interest in the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor and Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton. Republicans have targeted the seat as one they need to reclaim majority control in the Senate.

Each candidate has spent more than $100,000 on television ads and outside groups have spent millions on thousands of television, radio and Internet ads.

Ads from outside groups—primarily super PACs and politically active non- profits which cannot coordinate with political parties or candidates, but can accept unlimited contribution—tend to be more negative.

According to campaign-finance data compiled by the Sunlight Foundation, 11 groups have spent a combined $2.4 million opposing Pryor and Cotton, so far. Slightly more than $1.4 million has been spent opposing Cotton. About $960,000 has been spent opposing Pryor, according to data from the foundation - a nonpartisan, non- profit that tracks campaign contributions.

Washington State University Government Professor Travis Ridout said the 2012 presidential election may have set the stage for early ads in battle- ground states like Arkansas.

“There’s so much money out there this year, and I think most observ- ers agree that control of the Senate is about a 50-50 chance that it’ll change,” Ridout said. “That gives extra impetus to put your money in those races.”

Five outside groups have spent more than $100,000 on television ads in the U.S. Senate race, so far. Patriot Majority USA has spent the most, $303,975 for 524 commercials opposing Cotton. Americans for Prosperity has spent the second-most, $274,407 for 509 com- mercials opposing Pryor.


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You are here: Home News In Brief Arkansas Senate Race Garners National Attention