- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 13, 2018

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A Democrat running for a Republican-held congressional seat in central Arkansas released a new television ad Wednesday highlighting his opposition to his party’s leader in the U.S. House, pushing back on GOP attacks he has faced since winning last month’s primary.

Clarke Tucker’s campaign announced it would begin airing the ad on all four broadcast stations in the 2nd Congressional District, which includes Little Rock and seven central Arkansas counties. Republican Rep. French Hill earlier this month began running an ad accusing Tucker of having the backing of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s allies in Washington.

Tucker, a state representative, was promoted during the primary campaign by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as the party’s best chance to unseat Hill. Tucker has said he won’t support Pelosi as Democratic leader or speaker if he’s elected to Congress.

“Congressman Hill opened his campaign by attacking me, knowing full well that I’ve said from day one that I won’t vote for Nancy Pelosi. We’re better than that,” Tucker says in the ad. “The truth is I’m the only candidate in this race who’s worked with both parties to protect health care, strengthen education and empower entrepreneurs.”

Hill’s campaign, however, continued trying to link the two in response to Tucker’s ad.

Clarke Tucker is the hand-picked candidate of Nancy Pelosi’s liberal Washington allies because they know Clarke Tucker supports higher taxes and bigger government and that French Hill will continue to champion lower taxes and a stronger economy,” Mike Siegel, a spokesman for Hill’s campaign, said in an email.

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton’s political action committee also announced Wednesday it’s spending six figures on a campaign backing Hill that includes mailers and online ads linking Tucker to Pelosi. The Republican Majority Fund said the campaign will later include TV ads.

Tucker had run two spots during his primary campaign focused on health care and veterans’ issues, but did not mention Hill in either ad. Hill, who did not have an opponent for the Republican nomination, had run another ad ahead of the May 22 primary that didn’t mention Tucker but invoked Pelosi.

Democrats have said they believe Hill is vulnerable because of his opposition to the federal health overhaul, which has expanded coverage to thousands in the state. Republicans control all of the state’s federal offices and its statewide partisan offices, as well as a majority in both chambers of the Legislature. The GOP has held the 2nd District seat since 2011.


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

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