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Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton has been a good Republican foot soldier in the House, and has been a reliable vote for Paul Ryan's safety net slashing budgets. That's something that will probably get Republican primary support next week in Cotton's race for the Senate, but could be more of a problem come November. At least that's what Sen. Mark Pryor is counting on.
A series of Pryor television ads focus on Medicare and Social Security, hitting his opponent for supporting Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, which would alter the structure of the programs and increase the eligibility age. […]

[T]he Medicare attack could also help Pryor appeal to the elderly, who not only turn out for midterms but tend to vote Republican. About 15 percent of Arkansas’ population is over the age of 64, 1.3 percentage points above the national average. That same NBC-WSJ poll found Pryor leading Cotton among voters over 60 years of age, 56 percent-37 percent. […]

In one recent ad, Pryor touts legislation he wrote to make it more difficult to raise the Medicare eligibility age. “My opponent voted to withhold benefits until age 70. And I'm trying to stop that,” he says in the spot. The bill hasn’t gone anywhere since it was introduced in March, but the Senate Majority PAC is running ads with a similar message.

Peeling off some of the senior vote is smart politics in any election, and particularly in Arkansas. Pryor is the son of former governor, congressman, and senator David Pryor, a still-popular figure in the state who many seniors had voted for over the years. That name recognition won't hurt a bit, and neither will the message that a Pryor is still in office, protecting Social Security and Medicare.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:32 AM PDT.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders and Daily Kos.

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