Long slog to 2014 election begins for Senate's 'red state' Democrats
Three Senate Democrats from states where Obama lost in 2012 – and who are up for reelection themselves in 2014 – voted this week against their own party's fix for the 'sequester.' Will such votes hamstring Obama's legislative agenda?
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Ready to excoriate these mostly conservative Democrats are groups such as the Senate Conservatives Fund, the advocacy group founded by former senator and tea party firebrand Jim DeMint of South Carolina. It made Pryor its No. 1 target in 2014, according to an e-mail sent to its supporters earlier this week. "Mark Pryor pretends to be a moderate in Arkansas, but votes like a liberal in Washington,” SCF executive director Matt Hoskins wrote in the e-mail.Skip to next paragraph
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Another conservative group, the fiscally concerned Club for Growth, has put hundreds of thousands of dollars behind a television ad ripping Pryor for backing Obama-driven legislation such as the 2009 federal stimulus and the health-care reform law, as well as one issue from President Bush's tenure, rescues for Wall Street banks sinking in the financial crisis.
“He’s supposed to be our senator, but Mark Pryor is really Barack Obama’s best ally in Arkansas,” the narrator intones mournfully. “When you vote for Pryor, you vote for Obama. It’s that simple.”
To fight back, Pryor and other such senators will do what moderates always do: stress their independence.
“These bills were one-party solutions that would do nothing to solve our fiscal problems,” Pryor said in a statement on his "no" votes to replace the sequester. “It’s time to make smart, deliberate cuts based on the merit and effectiveness of programs, and work to find common ground.”
Pryor’s voting record puts him smack-dab in the middle of the ideological spectrum. In 2012, only two Democrats' records were more conservative, and Pryor's votes were within distance of moderate Republicans such as ex-Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts.
“Anyone in Arkansas who knows me knows I always put Arkansas first – not the President, a political party, and certainly not special interests,” Pryor said in a statement after the release of the Club for Growth ad. “This is the first of what’s certain to be an endless array of special interest groups coming to Arkansas to distort the truth about my independence and bipartisanship.”
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