AR-Sen: Halter Launches Primary Challenge

Big news out of Arkansas:

Lt. Gov. Bill Halter says he is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Sen. Blanche Lincoln this fall.

    Halter’s spokesman provided a statement Monday in which the one-term lieutenant governor said he would file papers for the U.S. Senate this week. Halter is the only Democrat to formally announce a challenge to Lincoln as she seeks a third term.

Blanche Lincoln has been looking increasingly DOA in the polls, especially since the entry of GOP Rep. John Boozman — and her veering to the right in order to try to appeal to Republicans who already were resolved not to vote for her has only earned her the wrath of labor, environmentalists, the African-American community, and the netroots. The few polls that have included Halter find him not faring any better than Lincoln in the general — which suggests that the Dems’ problems in Arkansas this cycle go deeper than Lincoln herself — but I think we’ll be better positioned to try to salvage the Arkansas seat with a) a fresh face and b) a candidate who at least has the Democratic base on his side.

Halter is at a financial disadvantage compared with Lincoln’s $5 million on hand, but MoveOn is kicking into gear and organized labor is quietly moving to support Halter as well. He has a lot to do in a short time, though: the primary is on May 18. (Discussion underway in TheUnknown285‘s diary.)

RaceTracker Wiki: AR-Sen

46 thoughts on “AR-Sen: Halter Launches Primary Challenge”

  1. It’s unlikely Obama will have 59 Senate seats come 2011. He needs to get as much done now as he can. If Halter frightens Lincoln, maybe she’ll actually stop being obstructive and outright lying for once.

    That or she’ll just get more shrill and right-wing in the hope of attracting cross-over votes, but it’s worth a try.

    Assuming Obama doesn’t go for his usual modus operandi and immediately endorse Lincoln fulsomely.

  2. I understand Halter probably has more base appeal, but the biggest thing Lincoln had going for her was her financial advantage and her chairmanship of the Agricultural Committee, both of which would be lost if Halter won the primary.

    I’m not from Arkansas, and I know ArDEM is high on Halter’s chances, but I don’t see it. Arkansas is a state that only gave Obama 39 percent, and yeah, populist campaigns can work, but it’s hard to see it working in a state where the Dems are this far down the hole.

    On the other hand, since I think this seat (more than Ried’s in Nevada) was probably a lost cause in any event, I’m happy about anything that forces Lincoln to support Health Care and reconciliation, which I think this will do.


    Look at how many incumbents outspent their opponents and went down in flames.  santorum, Dewine, Burns, Talent and Allen all outspent their opponents by large margins, and that’s just in 2006.  while a lack of money will certainly hurt, money seems to have a peak effectiveness point.  Lincoln and reid will not be able to save themselves with money alone any more than santorum’s 24 mil stopped casey with his 13 mil.  

  4. Neither can probably win in November but at least Halter would have room to grow. People have made up their mind about Blanche. And a bonus in the meantime if she tries to shore up the base with her votes.

  5. Arkansas has the most conservative democratic voting block of any state in the country. Lincoln can easily win the primary by staying in the center or moving to the right. On top of this Halter is backed by the Unions and in a state where Walmart is king Halter will never be elected. If he wins the democratic primary many of the conservative registered democrats in Arkansas will jump ship and move to the republican camp like the rest of the south. The democratic party has managed to remain in power in Arkansas by appearing to be much more conservative than the national party.A Halter win would destroy this image and usher in a Republican takeover on the state level.

  6. I am fairly neutral about this. If I thought for a second that Lincoln had a chance at winning the GE then I would be stand up for her despite my personal dislike of her. However she stands NO chance of winning this fall so why not try someone new. Now I will admit I was surprised that Halter went threw with it. He won’t win the GE either, and he could have gone for the much easier Congressional run. If I was him I would have either ran for Congress or for a second term as LG. However I think he will do better in the general and will pull Lincoln to the left in time for the HCR vote. At the end of the day we will more than likely lose this seat, but Arkansas has been trending right for many years so it was really just a matter of time anyway.  

  7.      Lincoln can’t win in November. But beating her in the primary would be an important statement by the Democratic party’s base to others of her ilk that we will no longer tolerate “Democrats” who attack the party’s base, provide cover for the right-wing Republican agenda, and prevent the large majority of Democrats from enacting our agenda.

        On the other hand, if Halter gets the nomination, you can count on Versailles to blame him for the loss of the seat in November. “If only they’d ignored those dirty hippies, and stayed with that nice moderate, Senator Lincoln. . .”

  8. …and I attribute her stronger polling to have higher name ID from holding a more visible post.

    Against Boozman we probably aren’t going to win with anyone.  Though who says Boozman is necesarily guaranteed the nomination even if he is favored. Still time for the looney right to work their magic.

    But if we are going to have any chance we need a fresh face.  Lincoln by not being true to herself as a moderate (rather than a conservative) has alienated everyone left, right, and center.  In this year and in this seat I’d rather roll the dice on someone new than risk running a severely unpopular incumbent.

    Since  I don’t know as much about Bill Halter as I should.  Can he credibly recast himself as a “good old boy” Democrat in the general?

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