This post has been updated.
A Senate Republican candidate in Arkansas defended Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) on Wednesday from an “incredibly bizarre and offensive email” sent by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Hill reports.
After Pryor, who’s facing a tough 2014 re-election, highlighted his Christian faith in a new campaign ad, NRSC communications director Brad Dayspring emailed reporters to note it contradicted a previous claim where Pryor said that the Bible was “really not a rulebook for political issues” and that “everyone can see it differently.”
“So is the Bible Mark Pryor’s compass, providing the ‘comfort and guidance to do what’s best for Arkansas?'” Dayspring said, according to the Hill. “Or is it really not a good rule book for political issues and decisions made in the Senate? Guess it depends on which Mark Pryor that you ask.”
Rep. Tom Cotton’s (R-AR) campaign spokesman took the NRSC to task for the email.
“That is an incredibly bizarre and offensive email from the NRSC’s press secretary,” David Ray told the Hill. “We should all agree that America is better off when all our public officials in both parties have the humility to seek guidance from God.”
Dayspring further explained the email to the Hill on Wednesday afternoon.
“In the ad Mark Pryor says the Bible guides him to make legislative and political decisions but in the paper Mark Pryor says that the Bible shouldn’t be used as a rulebook for political issues,” he said. “Anyone who followed Pryor’s 2002 campaign knows that he certainly didn’t shy away from using his religion both in ads and on the trail, and that seems to be happening yet again.”
The NRSC denounced the “latest anti-religion pursuit” by President Obama last week, in what it called the “closure” of the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican. After CNN and the Vatican both assured the embassy was merely re-locating to a larger U.S. compound in Rome, the NRSC quietly abandoned its protest.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee urged the NRSC to apologize for what they called a “series of offensive attacks against the religious faith of Democrats.”
“The NRSC should immediately pull down their attack and apologize to Senator Pryor and other people of faith who don’t deserve to have their religious beliefs attacked by political operatives in Washington, DC,” said Guy Cecil, executive director of the DSCC, in a statement. “This attack was out of bounds. Period.”