U.S. Senate Candidates Dispute Over Definition Of Middle Class

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) - A dispute over how much money middle class people earn in Arkansas is now a hot topic in the U.S. Senate race.

U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton said a typical household in Arkansas makes about $40,000 a year. U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark. said in a debate on Tuesday (Oct. 14) it can be up to $200,000.

Cotton challenged Pryor's figure of $200,000 saying it "may be middle class in Washington, D.C., or in the suburbs of Washington, but here in Arkansas that puts you in the tip 2% of all income earned," he said.

According to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2010, the median household income in Arkansas was $38,758.

Pryor addressed where he got the $200,000 figure on Wednesday (Oct. 15) saying "what we are talking about here is Congressman Tom Cotton voting to increase taxes on families up to $200,000."

Pryor went on and said he's on the side of all working Arkansans and has a voting record that's pro-middle class.

"I voted for middle class relief," he said. "He's voted for billionaire tax relief. That's really the contrast between us and that's why he's twisting and pushing so hard."

Cotton said Pryor's middle class income number indicates the Senator is out of touch with Arkansans.

"If he thinks a middle income family makes $200,000, he assumes they can face 139% increases in their premiums," he said. "Or if they lose their health insurance, they can just go buy new insurance that costs more."

Other contenders for the Senate seat are Libertarian Nathan LeFrance, Green Party candidate Mark Swaney and write-in candidate Scott Pfleegor.

Early voting starts Monday (Oct. 20). Election Day is Nov. 4.


  • Roger Ruth

    I don’t know about anyone else out there but when election time rolls around—–I’m not voting for either one of these idiots. Why you ask? It’s simple. Because of both flooding the airwaves both TV, radio internet, Now, Facebook. Neither one of these men deserve my vote and they are NOT going to get it.

    When I was a child, I remember when candidates vie for office, they would spell out what their vision is, what they would like to do if elected, and what they would like to change. Has anyone out there ever heard anyone of these two idiots say anything? Argue about who done what and when. That’s all they know. I have a copy of the ballot and I see there is a Green Party candidate running and also a slot for “fill-In” I may just write my name in there and vote for myself. I think I could do worlds better than either one of these jokers.

    God I’ll be glad when this mess is over!

  • Richard S. Drake

    I just did a Google search, and I have discovered that Republicans all across the country are accusing their opponents of being the “deciding vote” on Obamacare.
    I wonder if Tom Cotton will admit to THAT?

      • The shocker

        The problem, Kevin, is that we have politicians who get funding from corporations and PACs that represent special interests. The Koch brothers are a prime example. I’m wondering if Mr Cotton can explain his intake of funding from outside sources.

        Do you really think that a man, like cotton, who cast the deciding vote to shut down our government, and cause our country to go into default, ought to be re-elected?

  • AV

    $200,000 is considered middle class in the context of politics and taxes. Many proposed tax hikes (or cuts) begin (or end) at that amount. Even Mitt Romney considered middle class to be “$200,000–$250,000 or less” during the 2012 campaign because of President Obama’s proposed tax hike on Americans earning income over $250,000. Tom Cotton knows this, but he also knows how ignorant Arkansas voters are. That is why he was able to use this to make Mark Pryor seem out of touch with the average Arkansan.

  • Jeff Smith

    Senator Pryor, I personally emailed your office for some assistance with the United States Military and your office barely batted an eye despite me providing concrete evidence in reference to what I was trying to get some assistance on. Good luck this year in the election Sir. I think you are going to need it.

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