Arkansas Governor's Race Turns Negative

(KATV)- The Republican Governor's Association is up on the airwaves Tuesday with a new ad hitting Arkansas gubernatorial candidate Democrat Mike Ross.

The ad titled "Trillions" lumps Ross with Nancy Pelosi and Pres. Obama with spending in Washington. "Heard about Mike Ross? Well you probably haven't heard how much Mike Ross Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama have in common," the announcer says in the 30 second ad.

Ross campaign spokesperson Brad Howard told Channel 7 News that now Hutchinson is falling behind in the polls, his campaign is trying to smear Ross.

"Mike Ross is a proven fiscal conservative who voted against every single pay raise for members of Congress and helped introduce and fought for a balanced budget amendment while in Congress. {}Mike Ross has always represented Arkansas values -- even standing up to his own party when needed -- which is why Mike was consistently rated by National Journal as one of the most independent members of Congress," Howard said.

The RGA does not coordinate with campaigns, but critics said the ad went up as soon as Hutchinson was shown behind in a recent poll, but still within the margin of error.

"Friday poll numbers come out showing Asa Hutchinson losing the governor's race and then the first thing Monday morning the national Republican Governor's Association announces they're buying television time," said political columnist and consultant Michael Cook.

Ross has outraised all three Republican candidates combined and has been the only candidate up on the airwaves with ads describing who he is and touting his support from Gov. Mike Beebe.

"Asa is so broke, he can't afford to go on television himself," Cook said.

But in an interview with Channel 7 News Tuesday, Hutchinson said not so fast.

"Well when you have $1.3 million in the bank you've got plenty of money for campaign ads, but my goodness it's 9 months out. People are going to get so weary of the campaign ads so you have to plan to present your message to the voters at the right time so we pay attention to our schedule and like I said it's very, very early in this campaign and we will be on the air at the right time with the right message," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson said he has seen the RGA ad.

"Yes I've seen the ad and I see it just like everyone else for the first time because that's an independent ad and we don't coordinate or have any advanced knowledge of that. Everybody's record of voting is fair game in this campaign and so I've already been hit on my record in congress and that I didn't spend enough money, the tax payer's money, and so this ad addresses Mike Ross' overspending of money that really impacted our budget in Washington so I'm looking at it like every body else and that will be part of the debate as we go forward what our voting records have been," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson said the RGA stepping in on his behalf is a wrong narrative and that no one should get excited over one poll. Hutchinson believes his campaign has good momentum and fundraising.

"Well the liberal bloggers are always going to say something to support Mike Ross and his campaign that's how he voted whenever he was spending money in Washington and voting with Nancy Pelosi and no I think our campaign is right where it should be. We stick with our schedule," Hutchinson said.