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Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) has released the first ad of his 2014 re-election campaign, in which he defends his decision to vote against the expansion of gun sale background checks and declares that “no one from New York or Washington tells me what to do.”

The ad, titled “Real Solutions,” slams President Barack Obama and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg for their advocacy for new gun safety laws.

“The mayor of New York City is running ads against me because I opposed President Obama’s gun control legislation,” Pryor says in the ad. “Nothing in the Obama plan would have prevented tragedies like Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, or even Jonesboro.”

“I’m Mark Pryor, and I approve this message because no one from New York or Washington tells me what to do,” Pryor concludes. “I listen to Arkansas.”

As Josh Kraushaar explains in The National Journal, “The closing line is a time-tested formula for Southern Democratic survival – showcase your independence from an unpopular national party.” The problem for Pryor is, it’s not true. Were Pryor really listening to Arkansans — 60 percent of whom support expanded background checks, according to a recent Public Policy Polling survey — then he would certainly have voted for the Manchin-Toomey gun bill.

Pryor’s ad is a direct response to this ad from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the gun reform group co-chaired by Bloomberg. In addition to Bloomberg’s group, the pro-Obama group Organizing for Action has promised to target Pryor as well.

Conservative groups such as the Club for Growth are also attacking Pryor, seeing his seat as a prime target for a Republican pickup. All of the combined attention helps to explain why Pryor, a two-term incumbent, feels the need to run ads defending himself over 500 days before the midterm elections.

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