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Republican Governors Association airs attack ad in Arkansas governor’s race

The new ad ties Democrat Mike Ross to President Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

arkansas mugLITTLE ROCK (CFP) — The first attack ad in the 2014 Arkansas governor’s race is a salvo from the Republican Governors Association painting former U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, the presumptive Democratic nominee, as a free spending liberal in the mode of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi.

Democratic nominee Mike Ross

Democratic nominee Mike Ross

The ad, entitled “Trillions,” started airing in heavy rotation in the Natural State on February 11. The RGA hasn’t said how much money it plans to spend, but the ad is clearly an effort to stop the well-funded Ross from building momentum while Republicans are fighting it out in a three-way primary.

In the ad, pictures of Ross are seen alongside Obama and Pelosi the House Democratic leader, noting that the national debt rose to $10.7 trillion during Ross’s time in Congress.

The RGA criticizes Ross for voting for the TARP rescue plan and the bailout of the auto industry, as well as supporting increases in the debt limit.

The tagline is that Ross, Obama and Pelosi have “trillions of things in common, all of them wasted.”

The irony is that when Ross was in Congress, the Blue Dog Democrat was often criticized by liberals back home for not being sufficiently supportive of the Democratic agenda in Washington, most notably his vote against Obamacare.

Ross has already been up on TV for the past two months, starting with an ad in which he was endorsed by popular Democratic Governor Mike Beebe, who is term limited.

Ross, 52, from Prescott, represented southern and western Arkansas in Congress from 2001 to 2013. He faces no primary opposition and has raised more than $3.6. million for the race.

That’s more than all of his three GOP opponents have raised combined. None of them have begun television advertising.

On the Repubican side, former U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson is battling Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman and State Rep. Debra Hobbs of Rogers for the nomination.

Given that Obama lost Arkansas in 2012 by a staggering 23 points, the RGA’s strategy of linking Ross to the president is understandable. However, Arkansas voters tend to behave much differently in state and federal elections.

While the state’s entire congressional delegation is in Republican hands, Democrats still hold the governorship and most of the other statewide elected offices. While the GOP controls the state Senate, it has but a thin one-vote majority in the state House.

View the RGA’s ad against Ross:

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