Tom Cotton today released a series of television and print ads accusing Senate campaign rival Mark Pryor of casting the deciding vote in a bill that led to the American Civil War.
The ads state that Mark Pryor as Senator cast the deciding vote in the Kansas-Nebraska act that, along with declaring Kansas and Nebraska states, made law the concept of popular sovereignty. Popular Sovereignty allowed the new states to vote on allowing slavery, which led to a violent debate in Kansas that many claim started the civil war.
Campaign fact checking organizations PolitiFact and FactCheck.org called Cotton’s ad false. Both organizations say there is no way Pryor or any other living individual had any involvement in the Kansas Nebraska Act.
“I am urging Tom Cotton to withdraw this ad that is completely false and is misinforming the people of Arkansas,” Senator Mark Pryor says in an official statement. “First off, I was not even alive in 1854 when the bill was passed. Even if I was the bill passed 37 to 14, so a single vote would not have mattered.
In a statement Cotton’s campaign says they stand by the ad and continue to assert that Pryor started the civil war. The campaign says it has spent $197,443 to air the ad on four TV stations and local newspapers in Little Rock.
“Not only will Cotton for Senate not be pulling our factual and well-documented television ad, we are considering extending this advertising campaign,” Cotton campaign manager Justin Brasell said in an email.