The Tom Cotton campaign says a consistent message and emphasis on personal history pushed the freshman Congressman ahead with many undecided Arkansas voters. Key members of the Republican Senator-elect's campaign staff spoke with reporters Friday, after a near 17 point victory for Cotton over Democratic incumbent Mark Pryor. Brad Todd is media consultant for the Cotton Campaign. He says, from the time Cotton first announced his run, the campaign's internal polling showed numbers that never improved for Pryor.
“The fox always brags that he has a lot of tricks and maneuvers while the hedgehog only has one, but it's better. And we were proudly a hedgehog campaign. We wanted to take the campaign to strength at every turn. They tried a lot of tricks. We felt they never had a consistent argument for why Senator Pryor. We don't that even on election day people could enunciate the argument for Senator Pryor,” he says.
The Cotton campaign repeatedly tied Senator Pryor to President's Obama's policies, while positioning Cotton against those policies. Todd says the campaign's internal polling data showed that Pryor also never had more than 42 percent support among the Arkansas electorate since July of last year, when Cotton announced his run.
“[At that time] Senator Pryor's image ratings were 41 percent favorable, 36 percent unfavorable. His job approval was still at a pretty healthy spot: 49 [percent favorable] over 36 [percent unfavorable]...However, on the ballot against Tom Cotton, he was already trailing 44 to 42, despite the fact that he had a 49 percent job approval. That number for Senator Pryor remained the same the entire race,” he says.
Meanwhile, Todd says Cotton's numbers did rise over that time. The Cotton campaign notes that, despite starting out with less cash on hand than the Pryor Campaign, they out-raised the incumbent in each quarter, while both campaigns spent about 5.9 million dollars on “electronic media,” including TV ads.
Calls made to the Pryor campaign seeking comment have not been returned.