I just received the following from Robbie Wills’ campaign:
Wills Pledges No Negative Campaigning In Primary
Says attacks hurt party, takes attention away from issues
Little Rock, AR April 29, 2010 – Today Speaker Robbie Wills issued a statement promising the voters of the 2nd district that neither he nor any member of his campaign staff would take part in any negative campaigning while seeking the Democratic nomination.
“I firmly believe that it is irresponsible to waste a single minute of this primary talking about anything other than helping Arkansans affected by our nation’s economic crisis. Attacks and innuendo hurt our party and they take attention from the real issues confronting all Arkansans.
“As primaries have heated up across the state, voters have seen a number of negative television ads, emails and mail pieces. Today, I promise you will see none of these during the remainder of the primary from my campaign.
“I have the utmost respect for every candidate in this race. I am encouraged by our similarities, and I respect our differences. I ask them to join me in honoring the thoughtful spirit of Rep. Vic Snyder’s record of positive campaigning.”
I assume this was done at least partially in response to both David Boling’s comments last week as well as the overall tone of the AR-02 debate on Tuesday. Regardless of the reasoning, I think it’s a smart move strategically; while I think negative campaigning can be effective generally (if done correctly), going negative has not exactly been kind to other Democrats in this election cycle.