As Steve Barnes writing in The Baxter Bulletin points out as regards Senator Mark Pryor’s previous efforts, “In all their son’s campaigns heretofore the Pryors maintained a fairly low public profile even as they burned the phone lines in Mark’s behalf. It was the smart thing to do, helping minimize any criticism of dynasty-building. Mark Pryor would win it or lose it on his own. That was the public perception intended, and presumably his preference; and besides, circumstances allowed him to keep his bloodline backstage.
Now, that’s all changed what with Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton dogging the incumbent Pryor to the point Pryor is struggling to maintain a small lead, assuming he still has one.
“Senator David Pryor and First Lady Barbara Pryor to Hit the Campaign Trail in July” was the headline.
Sure enough they did — only one day later. And, of course, the candidate was not David, nor Barbara, but son Mark, struggling to maintain, at a minimum, the single-digit lead he is believed to have over U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton of Arkansas’s Fourth District, who hopes to deprive Pryor of a third term in the U.S. Senate. The Pryors, mom and dad, hit Hot Springs first and hit it hard, and were rewarded with extensive coverage in the local daily. Mission accomplished, that day at least.
Certainly, having one’s family campaign on their behalf is neither bad, nor unusual; however, juxtaposed with virtually all of Pryor’s past campaiugns in which his family took a distant backseat to the candidate himself, it reeks as a sign of desperation from a two-term incumbent in serious trouble.
The Pryors, in the (accurate) language of their son’s press release, are “masters of Arkansas’ retail political culture.”
It appears they’ll need to be to have any hope of saving their son’s chances in November, though polls suggest even that may not be enough.