NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Democratic Senate challenger Conner Eldridge is accusing Republican Sen. John Boozman of being "absent" on economic issues for Arkansas, saying the Republican incumbent hasn't been a strong advocate for small businesses in the state.

Eldridge criticized Boozman on Wednesday after hosting a roundtable discussion on business issues with Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who has been touring the state with Eldridge. Eldridge, a former federal prosecutor, says he wants to be an ambassador for Arkansas and work alongside state officials to recruit jobs and help existing employers.

Eldridge faces an uphill challenge unseating Boozman in Arkansas. Boozman's campaign dismissed Eldridge's remarks and highlighted the lawmaker's work on economic issues such as the recent opening of the Magellan Pipeline and advocating for opening trade with Cuba.