Senator Pryor Defends Campaign Ad Invoking Ebola And Criticizes Cotton

Aug 27, 2014

Senator Mark Pryor during a press conference Wednesday in Little Rock.
Credit Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Incumbent Senator Mark Pryor continued to attack Republican challenger Tom Cotton Wednesday over votes on emergency and disaster relief. This week Pryor’s campaign launched a television advertisement criticizing a vote Cotton made against pandemic preparedness and how it relates to Ebola.

At his campaign headquarters in Little Rock Pryor said that while Cotton’s campaign has been making light of the ad, votes on pandemics such as Ebola, are important.

“This is a little bit of a remote possibility. People think well this is a pandemic, they make movies about this, they write novels about this, who knows if it really happens. Well, that’s true who knows if it’ll happen. But we need to be prepared because when does happen it’s too late at that point,” said Pryor.

David Ray with the Cotton campaign said in an e-mail that the advertisement is “so desperate that it’s actually comical.” Ray said Cotton voted against an initial January version of the bill but later voted for an amended March incarnation of the legislation.

“It included a provision that gave the HHS Secretary the authority to force Arkansas health workers into hot zones as if they were soldiers being deployed,” said Ray.

Pryor contended Cotton couldn’t have known a second version of the bill would emerge later and said the initial vote against funding is compelling.

“The hazard of just blindly making cuts to spending and not understanding the consequences of your actions I think can be seen in this emergency preparedness vote,” said Pryor.

Pryor tied the vote related to Ebola and pandemics with other issues of preparedness that he has criticized Cotton for such as disaster recovery and pediatric funding.