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POLITICS: PennAve

Ebola becomes a campaign issue in close Arkansas Senate race

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Politics,Betsy Woodruff,Arkansas,Health Care,2014 Elections,Campaigns,PennAve,Tom Cotton,Mark Pryor,Ebola

A dramatic new campaign ad has drawn criticism for bringing Ebola into the hotly contested Arkansas Senate race.

But a campaign spokesman for Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, who is airing the ad, said his team is standing behind it.

The spot, called “Emergency Response,” features scary music, zombie movie-style shaky camerawork and an ominous voice-over saying “Tom Cotton voted against preparing America for pandemics like Ebola.”

Republican Rep. Tom Cotton and Pryor are locked in one of the most competitive Senate races this cycle, so theatrical TV advertisements should be par for the course.

But bringing in Ebola still surprised many and the Cotton campaign said its “desperation is comical.”

“Coming soon to a TV near you: Tom Cotton hates puppies, baseball and apple pie,” read a press release from Cotton’s campaign.

But Pryor’s camp has no apologies.

“This is a serious matter,” said Erik Dorey, a Pryor campaign spokesman, “and Congressman Cotton seems to want only to make light of it.”

“He voted against what the ad said he voted against, and that speaks to his priorities,” Dorey added.

Michael VanRooyen, director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, told the Harvard Gazette earlier this month regarding Ebola that “there’s no cause for panic.”

A Harvard School of Public Health poll released Aug. 21 suggests people may be getting panicky anyway. Results indicated that about one quarter of American adults are worried that they themselves or one of their immediate family members may get Ebola in the next year.

People with less education were more likely to worry about contracting the virus.

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Betsy Woodruff

Political Writer
The Washington Examiner

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