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Cotton turns shutdown against Pryor in new ad

Republicans are banking on Obamacare’s unpopularity in the Razorback State to oust Sen. Mark Pryor.
Tom Cotton
U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, center, is greeted by Stan Garner, right, and other constituents after a Danville Lions Club meeting in Danville, Ark., Monday, Aug. 26, 2013.

Republicans are banking on Obamacare’s unpopularity in the Razorback State to oust Sen. Mark Pryor. And their likely GOP nominee, Rep. Tom Cotton is turning the tables against the Democratic incumbent on health care and the shutdown, hitting the Arkansas Democrat in a new ad for his vote to keep health care subsidies for members of Congress and their staff — even if it resulted in the government shutdown.

“What’s good for the goose ought to be good for the gander,” says the Arkansas Senate ad. “But not in Washington. Mark Pryor cast the deciding vote to makeyou live under Obamacare. But Pryor votes himself– and everyone in Congress – special subsidies, so they’re protected from Obamacare. Exemptions and special subsidies for Mark Pryor. Higher insurance premiums for you. Mark Pryor: Voting with Obama. Votingagainst Arkansans like you.”

At issue is a GOP push to roll back a health care exemption for members of Congress and their staff, which they had attached to their government funding bill that stalled in the Democratic Senate.  Democrats argue such a move puts an undue burden on often low-paid congressional staff especially, who as government employees, would lose their employer contribution every other government employee gets.

While the shutdown could affect some primaries and races the GOP needs to take back the Senate, GOP strategists instead counter that opposition to Obamacare will win out –  and Arkansas could be ground zero. It’s a state that only gave President Obama 37% in 2012 and where opposition to the his health care law is high. Cotton, a freshman congressman, is hoping to oust Pryor, who didn’t even have an opponent the last time he was on the ballot.

The $70,000 buy in the Little Rock media market premiered this weekend during the University of Arkansas’ football game against the University of Florida, which they lost.

It’s a position Cotton reiterated last week during an appearance last week on The Daily Rundownsaying the original vote was clear in requiring congressional staff to be on the exchanges, which opened to the public last week.

“It was designed to ensure Congress had to eat their own cookie and understand what it was like to live under the exchanges,” said Cotton. “Democrats are refusing to take back the exemption that Obamacare gave them. They had a simple choice — they can keep the government open or keep their special deal.”