Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor's continued support of Obamacare is harming his vulnerable status as the lone Democrat remaining in his state's congressional delegation — but he insists his position won't hurt his chances for re-election in 2014.
Pryor was re-elected in 2008, while his state was still largely Democratic. But Republicans took over the state Legislature in 2012, for the first time since after the Civil War ended, reports Politico
, and after his Democratic Senate colleague, Blanche Lincoln, lost in 2010, Pryor became the lone Razorback on Capitol Hill.
He says his party is "not dead like some people think it is," but a recent poll
shows freshman Republican Rep. Tom Cotton is running ahead of him in the race.
And as public opinion turns against Obama, Obamacare and other liberal programs, Pryor's race is mirroring a larger challenge that Democrats across the South are also facing.
Pryor claims to be an independent voter, but he cast deciding ballots for Obamacare and the president's economic stimulus package while admitting Obama "doesn't connect well" with people in his state.
"President Obama has in some ways what you would think of as a hard-left agenda in various ways, and that agenda is not popular in our state," Pryor said, noting he does not support many of Obama's plans.
Cotton's campaign manager Justin Brasell said Pryor's deciding vote on Obamacare was "strident and extreme," and took issue with statements the incumbent senator has made questioning Cotton's experience with constituents.
Despite polls showing Pryor's popularity is being hurt by his support of Obamacare, he insists he still supports the healthcare law.
"(Obamacare) has been a success," Pryor said, while admitting that "probably we did get 80 percent [right], we have to go in and work on the 20 percent."
Pryor made clear that he does not always follow the party line, stressing his opposition to background checks for gun sales.
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