- Associated Press - Monday, October 24, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Democratic Senate hopeful Conner Eldridge on Monday touted his work prosecuting a man who threatened Sen. John Boozman, saying it undercuts the Republican lawmaker’s criticism of his role as an Obama-appointed U.S. attorney in Arkansas.

Eldridge cited his office’s work prosecuting the case against Larry Joe Nixon as he criticized an ad Boozman is airing portraying Eldridge as a gift from President Barack Obama to the predominantly conservative state. Nixon was sentenced to two years in prison last year for making profanity-laced threats in phone calls to Boozman’s Washington office.

“This case shows, putting this man in prison for two years for these serious threats he made to Sen. Boozman, shows just how nonpartisan the job of a prosecutor is and just how ridiculous these same old tired scare tactics of Sen. Boozman are,” Eldridge told The Associated Press in an interview.

Prosecutors said Nixon left 25 profane and threatening voice mails on Boozman’s office phone over Memorial Day weekend in 2014.

Eldridge faces an uphill challenge unseating Boozman in Arkansas, where Republicans control all statewide and federal offices, and has trailed the incumbent lawmaker in fundraising. He’s been airing TV ads accusing Boozman of ducking debates and of having a lackluster record in Washington. The two debated earlier this month on public television, the only debate Boozman agreed to.

Eldridge accused Boozman of talking down to Arkansas voters with his ad, especially since Obama will no longer be in office in January. Boozman’s campaign defended the ad, saying Eldridge was effectively backing a third term of Obama by supporting Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and questioned Eldridge’s experience before becoming a federal prosecutor.

“Our opponent got his job because he worked hard to get President Obama elected and was rewarded with a political appointment,” Boozman campaign manager Chris Caldwell said in an email. “It wasn’t because of experience, because he had none. Nothing about our ad is disingenuous, unlike our opponent’s ads.”

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Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo

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