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Tucker says GOP attack ads sent out by Cotton's political action committee are 'inherently racist'

His rival Hill sits out debate by Hunter Field | September 21, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.

State Rep. Clarke Tucker on Thursday called attack mailers sent by U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton's political action committee "inherently racist."

Two of the mailers, which attack Tucker over illegal immigration, include photos of several dark-skinned, tattooed men holding guns; text next to the photos warns of the dangers of open borders. A third mailer includes the photo of a California woman killed by an immigrant in the country illegally.

Tucker, the Democrat challenging U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., for Arkansas' 2nd Congressional District seat, criticized the ads and called on Hill to denounce the Republican Majority Fund's rhetoric. The group is unaffiliated with Hill and his campaign, but it supports Hill's re-election bid.

"These are intended to scare people," Tucker said. "They're fear-mongering. And as you can see from these mail pieces, they're inherently racist."

Cotton's PAC in a statement defended the mailers.

"Arkansas needs a congressman who will put the interests of Arkansans ahead of illegal aliens," James Arnold, a Republican Majority Fund spokesman, said in a statement. "The Republican Majority Fund stands fully by its advertisements and will continue to inform Arkansans of Tucker's extreme record of supporting the Pelosi Agenda."

U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is the House minority leader. Ads from Cotton's PAC and Hill's campaign have tied Tucker to Pelosi, saying he'd support Pelosi's agenda.

Tucker has distanced himself from Pelosi, saying he wouldn't support a Pelosi bid for House leadership if elected. He said Republicans are focused on attacking him because Hill has an indefensible record.

Tucker also criticized Hill for not participating in what was planned as a debate-style candidate forum hosted by KATV-Channel 7 and Talk Business and Politics on Wednesday. Hill declined an invitation to attend Wednesday evening's forum, so KATV anchor Chris May and Roby Brock of Talk Business and Politics interviewed Tucker for the full hour.

Hill, who has agreed to a televised debate next month with Tucker on AETN, has said he plans to keep a campaign schedule similar to his first two congressional campaigns in 2014 and 2016, which included numerous candidate forums and the AETN debate.

A Hill campaign spokesman declined to comment for this story.

Tucker was particularly critical of the Republican Majority Fund's mailer that included a photo of Kate Steinle, the 32-year-old California woman who was shot and killed by a person in the country illegally in San Francisco in 2015.

"Another young life destroyed by an illegal immigrant," the mailer reads. "A vote for Clarke Tucker is a vote for the Pelosi-agenda of open borders."

Steinle's family in a 2017 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle expressed frustration about how Steinle's death had been thrust into the political spotlight.

"We just want to get this over with and move on with our lives, and think about Kate on our terms," the Chronicle quoted Steinle's father. "Nothing's been on our terms. It's been on everyone else's terms."

Tucker said Thursday that he supports sanctuary cities in the limited context of allowing people in the country illegally to go to the hospital or report crime without fearing deportation.

Tucker also said at Thursday's news conference that he doesn't support abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"We need to secure the borders," Tucker said. "That's a fundamental part of security for the United States."

Metro on 09/21/2018

Print Headline: Tucker says GOP attack ads sent out by Cotton's political action committee are 'inherently racist'

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