Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson is already attacking Mike Beebe‘s new campaign advertisement, which hit the airwaves this morning.

Hutchinson challenged Beebe’s promise in the ad to eliminate the sales tax on groceries.

“Mike Beebe is a classic tax-and-spend politician trying to re-invent himself as a tax-cutter during an election year, which simply strains all credibility,” Hutchinson said in a press release. “Never mind that he voted for every tax hike that came down the pike during his years in the state Senate, Mr. Beebe actually helped kill an effort to eliminate the grocery tax just a few years ago. That’s not going to wash with Arkansas voters, who know a flip-flop when they see one”

Full press release after the jump.


UPDATE: Beebe’s campaign responds and cites several “falsehoods” in Hutchinson’s press release.

“Hutchinson should check his facts,” said Beebe’s spokesman, Zac Wright. “This is another example of him not telling the truth. Mike Beebe helped pass a bill in the Senate to eliminate the grocery tax.  But I wouldn’t expect a Washington lobbyist to be that aware of Arkansas history.”

Wright added that Beebe voted in 1999 for Senate Bill 6, which was a bill to eliminate the sales tax on groceries. It passed the Senate but died in the House.

He also cited an AP article from January in which Beebe said, “I believe that the sales tax on food, which is the most regressive tax, must be phased out.” The same article said, “In an interview afterward, Hutchinson said eliminating the food tax is not part of his tax proposals.”

“Asa Hutchinson said eliminating the food tax was not part of his tax proposals,” Wright said. “Now he claims it is. That’s not straight talk. That’s not leadership. That’s the kind of double-talking we expect from a Washington lobbyist, just like he did on the minimum wage. If you take out the fact that Hutchinson’s press release is wrong on the facts and wrong on his own record, Asa Hutchinson would almost seem believable.”