Pryor Clings to Guns, Religion in Tough Re-Election Race

It’s no secret that Mark Pryor is in a difficult race for a third term in Arkansas. The Democratic senator will likely face GOP Rep. Tom Cotton in a must-win race for Republicans, if they want to recapture the majority.

On one hand, it is somewhat surprising that the incumbent has already turned to social issues in his effort to avert forced retirement. But on the other hand, even though Sen. Barack Obama was talking about small town Pennsylvania with his 2008 comment about "clinging" to guns and religion, President Obama might be less popular today in a state such as Arkansas. And Pryor needs social issues to declare his independence.

Pryor’s first ad of the cycle focused on guns.

"The mayor of New York City is running ads against me because I oppose President Obama's gun control legislation," he says in the ad. "Nothing in the Obama plan would have prevented tragedies like Newtown, Aurora, Tucson or even Jonesboro. I'm committed to finding real solutions to violence while protecting our Second Amendment rights."

"I'm Mark Pryor, and I approve this message because no one from New York or Washington tells me what to do," the senator adds. "I listen to Arkansas."

The most recent Pryor ad focused on religion.

“I’m not ashamed to say that I believe in God, and I believe in His word. The Bible teaches us no one has all the answers. Only God does. And neither political party is always right,” Pryor says in the ad with a Bible in his hands. “This is my compass. My North Star. It gives me comfort and guidance to do what’s best for Arkansas.”

“This is who I am, and what I believe,” the senator says at the end.

The Arkansas Senate race is rated Pure Tossup by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Topics: arkansas senate poli