Bill Clinton put in a day in Arkansas Sunday for the home team and was rewarded with big crowds under sunny skies.
In Texarkana, Mark Pryor made the case for electing someone who would not be an obstructionist like Tom Cotton. (Of course, if Republicans sweep the Senate and House, the definition of who’s an obstructionist might change, though Cotton seems likely to be an outlier at times even in his own party.)
In West Memphis, Clinton spoke of the insidious effect of negative advertising ($60 million has been spent in the U.S. Senate race alone.)
“Don’t you get tired of watching all these negative ads? And there is a reason they buy them. They work, people say they just hate them but they get inside your brain. All that slim they try to throw on these candidates.”
In Blytheville, a crowd of 500 turned out on Main Street. There, Clinton said one of America’s worst problems was political dysfunction.
Bill Clinton’s Arkansas travels can’t hurt. But it’s not the same as the unending stream of money that fills every TV channel, every radio frequency and every mailbox with a torrent of mostly negative messaging. The New York Times reports today on the flood of dark money landing at the last minute across the country, particulary in Senate races. Some of it comes from new or previously dormant groups and it has turned up in Arkanss.
Several are spending money they did not have on Oct. 15, the last day before Election Day for which super PACs must disclose contributions. One late-spending super PAC called Arkansas Horizon has spent more than $1 million in the last two weeks on ads attacking Senator Mark Pryor, a Democrat — far more than the cash on hand it reported as of mid-October.
….. “It’s yet another way to hide money from the public,” said Kathy Kiely, managing editor for the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates more transparent campaign spending. “What’s particularly insidious is that these are the late contributions that can sometimes tip the balance in a close race. And because of the timing, it looks like people are deliberately trying to mask the source of the money until after Election Day. If money is free speech, why are you standing on a soap box in a burqa?”
The candidates will be barnstorming today. Mike Ross will close out his Democratic gubernatorial traveling with a rally with Gov. Mike Beebe in Little Rock at 5:30 p.m. If Beebe had coattails, it would be a good year for Democrats because his approval rating after eight years remains sky high.