LITTLE ROCK — Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor and Republican Senate hopeful and U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton have traded jabs over the past few months as Arkansas’ U.S. Senate race got underway.
But during Thanksgiving week, the race has focused on family.
Pryor’s campaign posted a recipe for his mother’s Scotch fudge cake online this week. And Cotton’s campaign will air a new television ad featuring his mother starting Friday in northeast Arkansas.
The ad comes nearly a year ahead of Election Day 2014, when Cotton hopes to unseat Pryor, the lone Democrat in Arkansas’ congressional delegation. Pryor is seeking a third term in the Senate. Cotton represents south Arkansas’ 4th District.
Cotton’s campaign said it’s spending at least $13,000 on air time to run the 30-second television ad in the Jonesboro market through Dec. 5.
In the ad, Cotton’s mother, Avis, talks about their family’s military service. Cotton and his father, Len, have both served in the Army.
"It was Christmas. I was a newlywed and alone. Len was in Vietnam. But Christmas was harder when our son was in Afghanistan," Cotton’s mother says in the ad. "Tom has a passion to serve our country. After Harvard, he gave up a great career to volunteer for the Army. They offered to make him a military lawyer, but Tom insisted on the infantry, just like his dad."
Both campaigns have criticized each other since Cotton announced his bid for the Senate seat in August. Cotton has knocked Pryor for voting for the health care overhaul, and Pryor has taken aim at Cotton, saying he supported cuts to Social Security.
But this week, both campaigns struck a gentler tone.
In addition to his mother’s cake recipe, Pryor’s campaign posted online a family photo on Thanksgiving.
"Enjoying another Pryor family Thanksgiving with my brothers, parents and kids," the post on Facebook says. "Let us be thankful for family today and remember those who are spending Thanksgiving far from home."