LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Democratic Governors Association said Tuesday a group affiliated with it has made a six-figure ad buy to attack one of two Republicans running for governor in Arkansas this year.
The group Jobs and Opportunity said it has purchased advertising time on television stations in Fort Smith, Jonesboro and Little Rock. It claims former U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson has a history of "wheeling and dealing" while the Democratic candidate, former U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, displayed common sense and fiscal responsibility during his term.
"D.C. lobbyist Asa Hutchinson has ... forgotten what Arkansas values look like," Jobs and Opportunity spokesman Danny Kanner said in a statement.
Last week, the Republican Governors Association unveiled a six-figure advertising buy for television and radio commercials that claim Ross is too closely aligned with President Barack Obama and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to lead Arkansas effectively. It specifically mentions the president's 2009 stimulus package.
"Obama, Pelosi and Ross. Trillions of things in common. All of them wasted," the narrator says in the GOP ad. "That's the real Mike Ross."
Hutchinson's campaign spokesman issued a statement Wednesday via email criticizing the Democratic group's new ad.
"This ad is misleading and hypocritical. This is clearly Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama coming to aid their friend Mike Ross since he has always come to their aid. They can't stand the idea that Arkansas is going to elect a Republican Governor and will do anything to stop that from happening," Hutchinson spokesman Christian Olson said.
"Furthermore, they need to check their facts. Asa was practicing law in Arkansas while Mike Ross was voting for these very bills in Washington D.C.," he said.
The Democratic Governors Association ad says Hutchinson and the firm where he worked after leaving Congress benefited from the stimulus program.
"While Hutchinson and his lobbying firm were cashing in on a stimulus bill and the Wall Street and Detroit bailouts, Mike Ross was fighting for a balanced budget amendment and voting against congressional pay raises," Kanner said.
Ross is the only Democrat to announce a run for governor, while Hutchinson, who lost the 2006 governor's race to Mike Beebe, who is term-limited, is running against Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman for the GOP nomination. The filing season opens next Monday.
Over the last two election cycles, the GOP has made gains by tying Democratic Party candidates to Obama and Pelosi, who are unpopular in Arkansas. In 2012 the GOP won control of the state Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction.