|Attorney General Mark Pryor (Democrat)|
Mark Pryor was born in 1963 in Fayetteville Arkansas, the college town that is home to the state's flagship university. As the son of the popular governor, and later U.S. Senator, David Pryor, Mark Pryor grew up and attended schools in Arkansas and Washington D.C.
He earned a B.A. in history and a law degree from the University of Arkansas before practicing law for eight years at the Little Rock firm of Wright, Lindsey & Jennings. In 1990, he was elected to the Arkansas State House of Representatives, where he served two terms
He was elected Arkansas' Attorney General in 1999 and, at the age of 39, he is the youngest serving attorney general in the nation. As Arkansas' chief law enforcement official, Pryor has waged an information campaign aimed at reducing consumer fraud and helped expose a nationwide "reparations" scam aimed at stealing money from elderly black citizens. He worked on the national tobacco settlement and his office claims to have saved taxpayers from paying hundreds of millions in exorbitant legal fees to private attorneys involved in the case.
2000, Pryor served as Vice President Al Gore's campaign chairman in
Arkansas. After George W. Bush won the state 51 percent to 46 percent
in one of the closest and most divisive presidential elections in U.S.
history, Pryor called for healing and conciliation between the parties.
Like some other Arkansas Democrats, however, Pryor has distanced himself from the former president preferring to associate himself with his father's record and legacy. When Pryor missed a fundraiser in West Memphis where Clinton was the keynote speaker, his campaign said that he was preparing for a debate against his opponent, incumbent Sen. Tim Hutchinson. Political observers said that Pryor, who they say is seeking to take advantage of Hutchinson's recent divorce and remarriage, doesn't want to associate himself with Clinton.
Hutchinson's camp has tried to paint Pryor as an inexperienced liberal, and the campaigns have repeatedly clashed over what both sides call distortions and misleading ads.
In Hutchinson, Pryor faces a formidable incumbent fully backed by the national Republican party. Pryor, however, has the backing of his own party and the advantage of being the son of a highly popular and still well-regarded politician. Both parties have poured money and support into the race and both want badly to claim victory in Arkansas in November.
--By Jason Manning, Online NewsHour