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Campaigning on Ebola in Arkansas

Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor links his GOP opponent to the deadly virus during a new political ad ahead of November's midterm elections.
U.S. Senator Pryor talks on his mobile phone as he arrives for the weekly Democratic caucus luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in Washington
U.S. Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Feb. 4, 2014.

Ebola has hit the 2014 campaign trail.

Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas references the deadly virus in a new attack ad against his GOP Senate opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton. He is the first candidate during this year's midterm cycle to acknowledge a possible outbreak in the United States.

The 30-second spot, made public Monday, begins with clips of news coverage about the recent Ebola epidemic in Africa, then mentions Cotton's moves to fund billionaires supporting his campaign rather than initiatives to protect American families.

"Tom Cotton voted against preparing America for pandemics like Ebola," the narrator says, adding that the Republican was the only congressman in the Natural State to cast such a decision.

Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease in humans. One of the largest outbreaks since the virus was first identified in 1976 has affected more than 1,000 people throughout four countries in West Africa — Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. The disease infected two American health workers, as they attempted to save patients suffering from the virus in Liberia. The doctor and hygienist, who ultimately were treated in the United States, were released last week from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and declared "disease-free."

Pryor, the incumbent, and Cotton are involved in one of the country's most competitive Senate races. The Arkansas midterm election will take place on Nov. 4.

Earlier this year, some candidates appeared toting guns and firing at President Barack Obama's policies in their campaign ads. Pryor didn't hold a gun, but he reiterated his support for the Second Amendment in a previous video. Also, just this week, New Mexico Republican candidate Col. Allen Weh included an image of the Islamist extremist who executed American journalist James Foley in a clip that contrasts Obama's vacations on Martha's Vineyard with dramatic, violent images from the Middle East.