An unexpected issue popped up in the Arkansas Senate race this week — Ebola.
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., released an ad titled “Emergency Response,” highlighting the recent Ebola outbreak, saying his opponent Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., voted against funding for medical disaster aid.
“Tom Cotton voted against preparing America for pandemics like Ebola,” a male narrator says as news clips about the unprecedented Ebola outbreak play on screen.
“Congressman Cotton voted to cut billions from our nation’s medical disaster and emergency programs,” a female narrator says.
“He was the only Arkansas congressman to vote this way,” the male narrator says.
The Cotton campaign, which planned a news conference today to rebut the TV spot, scoffed at the ad.
“Senator Pryor’s desperation is comical. In Senator Pryor’s world, he doesn’t have to take responsibility for rubber-stamping the Obama agenda over 90% of the time, but wants Arkansans to believe Tom Cotton is responsible for everything from Ebola to crabgrass and male-pattern baldness,” said David Ray, a spokesman for Cotton.
This is the first instance where the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been used in a political ad here in the U.S. The Arkansas Senate race has seen a number of issues come to the forefront, including religion and border security, in a midterm election where the president’s health care plan was expected to dominate the agenda.