March 1st, 2010
12:20 PM ET
8 years ago

Sen. Lincoln gets primary challenge

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (right) announced he will launch a primary challenge to Sen. Blanche Lincoln (left).

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (right) announced he will launch a primary challenge to Sen. Blanche Lincoln (left).

(CNN) - Add a primary challenge to Sen. Blanche Lincoln's growing list of political problems.

Arkansas Lt. Governor Bill Halter announced Monday morning that he's launching a Democratic primary challenge to Lincoln, who was already facing a tough re-election battle this year.

"Washington is broken. Bailing out Wall Street, with no strings attached while middle class Arkansas tax payers with the bill. Protecting insurance company profits instead of patients and lowering health costs. Gridlock, bickering and partisan games while unemployment is at a 25 year high. Enough is enough. It is past time to put more Arkansas values in Washington," said Halter in an anti-incumbent message in a video posted on his Web site.

Four progressive organizations, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America,, and Daily Kos, released an e-mail pledging to raise half a million dollars over the next week for Halter, who worked in President Bill Clinton's administration. Halter is expected to formally announce his primary bid Tuesday when he files papers of candidacy at the state capitol in Little Rock.

Halter's move means Lincoln will now add a challenge from the left to a number of challenges from the right. Since she teamed up with Vice President Joe Biden last year to launch her re-election bid for a third term, Lincoln has faced criticism from labor unions and progressive groups for what they describe as her move to right in order to save her seat.

Recent polls of Arkansas voters suggest Lincoln's approval rating and favorable ratings have dropped over the past year, a fact that's encouraged eight Republicans to battle for the GOP Senate nomination. A survey last month indicated that many of those Republican challengers were either leading or deadlocked with Lincoln in hypothetical general election matchups.

Update: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs confirmed Monday afternoon that President Barack Obama will support Lincoln in her primary fight with Halter.

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: 2010 • Arkansas • Bill Halter • Blanche Lincoln • Popular Posts
soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    Kick her out – she's a Dem in name only. If she doesn't want to vote for things to help the constituents, kick her out.

    March 1, 2010 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  2. Ken in NC

    AsTaLavista Blanche Baby. Now you can come out of the Health Insurance closet and work out in the open for them. We already know you are one of the wholly owned and operated Senators from the Insurance Comapny.

    March 1, 2010 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  3. ran

    Good. Another blue dog to go. We need true Democrats or Independents. No fear/hate/obstructionist/purity Republicans or Blue Dogs code for Republican.

    March 1, 2010 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  4. Whooaahh

    No more Wars, that's all I can say. What did the Bush Family's War of Terror ever get us? Nothing. Whatever Party toes the line or tries to repair the damage that he caused.

    March 1, 2010 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  5. markiejoe

    Good challenge. Halter can take it all. And he will help get this country moving again without being held hostage by the Republicans.

    March 1, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  6. Democrats - the Party of NO

    Don't waste your time and money. The Republicans will take this seat.

    March 1, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  7. mike

    I support Bill Halter's run for Lincoln's senate seat! He seems like he wants to do the right thing! We need health care reform!

    March 1, 2010 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  8. liberal wingnut

    Should be an easy win for him.

    March 1, 2010 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  9. Jack

    "Four progressive organizations, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America,, and Daily Kos, released an e-mail pledging to raise half a million dollars over the next week..." And we worry about corporations raising money. In my opinion only money raised in Arkansas from the residents of Arkansas should be used to elect their government. Money from organizations headquartered in California or New York or where ever should stay out of Arkansas' business... Sad, really sad.

    March 1, 2010 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  10. chefdugan

    She's been a real lightweight ever since her first term. On the other hand, having a senator who hasn't done a thing for so long isn't entirely bad. A years vacation from all of them would be good!

    March 1, 2010 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  11. Duck Fallas

    What's wrong with a suprise blow?

    March 1, 2010 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  12. Charlie in Maine

    Election is a means to an end. Any politician who lets election become the end should face a challenge. I believe this is one point where my conservative friends and I would agree.

    March 1, 2010 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  13. Justen in Florida

    Good, every seat should have compatition, there shouldn't be any "freebies" for congress.

    March 1, 2010 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  14. oregon progressive

    just sent $100 donation to mr. halter's campaign efforts. ms. lincoln is no big-D or small-d emocrat. good luck sir.

    March 1, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  15. bob

    More of the same. We need to elect "Joe the Plumber"...

    March 1, 2010 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  16. Bill in Arkansas

    Halter may or may not win the democratic nomination. Either way the dems lose to a Repub this November in Arkansas.

    March 1, 2010 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  17. Reny

    and this guy thinks he is going to just sweep into DC and cure all the problems? What a joke!!

    March 1, 2010 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  18. Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR

    Thank you Mr. Halter from Fayetteville Arkansas!!!

    March 1, 2010 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  19. ronalde

    senator lincoln needs a challenge with her wishy washy stance on everything she needs to go and i hope her challenger isn't owned by the ins. companys,we need democrats with guts not weak spines.

    March 1, 2010 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  20. Marcus in Greensboro, NC

    I am so happy to see her get a real challenger, and I hope he wins. It's time to put people in who understand that they are there for us, not insurance companies. One down, three to go... Too bad we have to wait until 2014 for Mathieu, and 2012 for Nelson and Lieberman.

    March 1, 2010 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  21. Augustine

    Oh, she's going, gone! You can take that to the bank.
    Blanche Lincoln doesn't stand a chance against Bill Halter.

    March 1, 2010 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  22. How To Bankrupt The Nation-Put Dems On It

    Kinda like electing a fox to watch the hen house.

    March 1, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  23. john

    Once again. A "new kind of Republican". Give me a break. How many people are going to fall for this one again?

    March 1, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  24. Bedtime for Obonzo

    How likely is it that a candidate to the left of Lincoln will prevail in the general election? Not very.

    March 1, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  25. AncientRiver, New Mexico

    Fantastic! He sounds like a vast improvement.

    March 1, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
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