Democratic Senate Candidate Again Targets Incumbent Boozman Over Donald Trump

May 10, 2016

A segment from Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Conner Eldridge's ad released Tuesday targeting Republican Sen. John Boozman.

Democratic U.S. Senate challenger Conner Eldridge has released his second campaign ad targeting incumbent John Boozman of Arkansas over presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Like an online advertisement a week ago, the one released Tuesday features clips of Trump and an interview statement with Boozman saying, "I'll support the candidate regardless of who we pick, whether (it's) Donald Trump." 

It also features definitions to words being typed onto a screen for "dangerous," "nonsense" and "arrogance," as Trump says he gets military guidance from watching TV shows, is consulting himself during the campaign because he has "a good brain," and asks "how stupid are the people of this country?"

University of Arkansas at Little Rock political science professor Greg Shufeldt says it’s a fair criticism.

"We've seen this in Arkansas in past elections when (former Senator) Mark Pryor was painted with a broad brush tying him to President Obama. So this is really just par for the course that the president is the standard bearer of a party or a nominee is the standard bearer from a party. And unless a senator does something to distance himself or herself from that nominee, it's really a reasonable expectation that they are going to support them," Shufeldt said.

The new ad also calls Boozman a “weak candidate," typing out that he has only passed four bills during his 15 years in Congress, naming four post offices in the state.

The ad concludes with a clip of Eldridge saying, "It's wrong to stand by and be silent and not participate in this discussion. I'm not afraid to stand up." As it ends, there is a request for people to donate to Eldridge's campaign.

Shufeldt says given the divisive nature of Trump's campaign, there is the potential for it to impact down ballot races across the country, like those for the Senate. Some that are toss ups or highly competitive could get a Democratic advantage, he says.

"The question for Arkansas voters and for people paying attention to Arkansas politics is, does this move the Senate race in Arkansas, which was likely going to be won by a Republican, does this move this from a strong Republican-safe seat to a toss up? And that's what's going to remain to be seen in these next six months."

A representative of Boozman’s campaign declined to comment.