March 1st, 2010
12:20 PM ET
5 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, MoveOn.org, 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. I WANT MINES

    good now i know i be gettin mines if we can flood the congress wit more left radicals

    FREE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL FREE EDUCATION FOR ALL

    WILL THEY EVER BRING BACK THE FREE GOVERNMENT CHEESE?

    March 1, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  2. Amy in Maine

    Why was this post headlined: "A blow to Dems?"

    I think replacing conservative Dems with moderates strngthens the Party. It's not a blow, it's a positive development.

    March 1, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  3. annieL

    Where can I contribute $25,which is all I can scrape together after my health insurance premium, which went up 10% this year and is going up 10% next year, on top of higher deductibles and co-pays. And by the way, haven't gotten a raise in four years. Lucky to still have a job. Blanche Lincoln is standing between me and a just a little bit of relief, so I say she needs to feel a little insecure right now too. I want her replaced with someone who's ready to kick some behinds on Wall Street to save Main Street.

    March 1, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  4. Larry

    If the DailyKos is supporting him, he will be even worse

    March 1, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  5. rosslaw

    Lincoln could not decide what she stood for if anything at all and now she's shocked that her constituency figured out she doesn't stand for much. What a shocker. She would be in a stronger position if she just took a position, left, right or center, instead of pouring over every new poll to find out what she believes that day. She and Mitt Romney would make a perfect couple.

    March 1, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    "Change" will begin to genuinely take place, in November.

    March 1, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  7. Dan, TX

    Republicans don't want to cut waste fraud and abuse, they want the medicare budget to be cut, they want to spend spend spend. Forget about the republicans, all talk. At least the President is calling for a cut in medicare. We need to eliminate medicare, we can't afford it. Cutting is a first step. Republicans better get on board or they will get killed. As a conservative, I am totally turned off by the republican party.

    March 1, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  8. Florida Joe

    Not a surprise. We need to take out all of these so called Blue Dog Dems that are really Repub obstructionists in Dem clothing.........

    March 1, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  9. Tom in FL

    I just can't wait for those 'Arkansas values' to save us. Maybe we'll get Bill Clinton back, and girls with 'cankles'.

    March 1, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  10. Enough is Enough

    Both parties need more moderates not less. The word retard is interchangeable with progressive. Any one who is supported by the unions and MoveOn .org must be a total loser.

    March 1, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  11. RTB

    Hooray!

    Good news. A real Democrat.

    March 1, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  12. Carl

    Arkansas voters: certainly it's time to out the incumbent. However, be careful you don't go from bad to worse. If Halter has the backing of four different "progressive" organizations, are you going to get a return to core values, or even more radical left-wing "redistribute the wealth" policies. When we elected Obama, we were looking for change. Unfortunately, we went from the frying pan to the fire. Be careful that your replacement for Lincoln doesn't pull you in the wrong direction.

    March 1, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  13. Ancient Texan

    Very interesting. The Dems have accused the GOP of devouring their own to promote idealology, and the far left and their hate machines are going to do the same to any moderates in their ranks. Gonna be an interesting mid-term election.

    March 1, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. Annie, Atlanta

    Bill Halter showed up at the free clinic that was held in Arkansas a couple of months ago as a volunteer. Blanche Lincoln was no where to be found, of course. She's ok with the fact that she receives a salary and great medical coverage thanks to us, but does nothing to protect us from gouging by the insurance industry. Is anyone else sick of those politicians who only care that they have their's? If so, let's vote them out.

    March 1, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. andrewstl

    get the closet repub out of there!

    good for him.

    where do i send donation!!

    March 1, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  16. Trusslady

    When Democrats learn there is no such thing as "centrist" position and be true to the Democratic ideals, then they will be able to govern, and win. I fully support Bill Halter (and I am not from Arkansas).

    March 1, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  17. Carole

    Here! Here! Count me in Mr. Halter. I am tired of the wolves in sheep clothing....no pun intended on Ms. Fiorina the fired executive who ran a country in the ground.

    March 1, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  18. Anonymous

    She needs to go if she is really a Repug trying to stall the Democratics.

    March 1, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  19. James M. Holmes

    "Add a primary challenge to Sen. Blanche Lincoln's growing list of political problems." – CNN

    Really CNN? Hate to break it for you, but while you are bending over backwards to spread the "GOP comeback" propaganda – Democrats across the country are THRILLED that Lincoln is being primaried! This isn't a "problem" at all – it is VERY welcomed!

    She is noting but another corporate stooge and as much a Democrat as Glenn Beck! Blanche Lincoln is done... gone... see ya... bye-bye!

    We will probably see some Democratic Senators go down in Nov., but it will ONLY be the most conservative Dems! All the "liberal" Dems who actually vote for the middle class in this country will be still standing. Count on it...

    March 1, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  20. hbmindy

    CNN, why is this "a blow for Democrats"? It's a chance for real progressives to take back the Democratic party from the wannabe conservatives. Lincoln isn't a true democrat. It's time the democrats in Arkansas and around the country tell the party what they really want. Progressives who will pass healthcare reform and who not keep aligning themselves with Republicans every time the wind shifts. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if Pres. Obama isn't quietly sending money to Bill Halter.

    March 1, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  21. JA/TN

    he is so on point, but most talk a good game, but once in office it changes

    March 1, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  22. Chuck

    All the dems that held up the health care reform bill in the senate are going to lose their next primaries. Who did they think was going to vote for them after that?

    March 1, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  23. VernisRobertson

    Why do politician that people are going to contniue to go with their B.S . Every politician , will tell you that Washington is broken , bank bailouts , middle class is suffering , but yet if you vote for these YoYo's they do nothing about it. People will say anything to get elected bottom line. Washingtom can't be change and won't change , unless you get ride of every Senater who had been thier for the last 10yrs and start fresh . Politician say whatever people like to hear. Where was their voice 5yrs ago when the economy was heading in this direction .

    March 1, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  24. cspurgeon

    Thats great. Its hard to listen to this woman. Hopefully her replacement will have better ideas and not just no, no, no. We need to throw many of these bums on both sides out and this is a good one to start with.Let the Dems get behind him. I will send in my five bucks and I don't even live there.

    March 1, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  25. Mark

    Either way, Arkansas will not be stupid enough to elect another democrat....no matter who it is. The dems have had total control of Wash DC, but yet have accomplished NOTHING!!!!

    March 1, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
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