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. Dutch/BAd Newz, VA

    Bye Bye Blanche. All centrist/moderate democrats are gone. We are going to elect the most left wing liberal senators that will push our agenda through.

    March 1, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  2. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Vote Congress out, “you are fired” if they are in. Vote them out this fall no matter what party they belong to, and in the next election and every election going forward until they become the servants of the people once more.

    March 1, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  3. Lynn

    Oh great, Halter got the state lottery into Arkansas, now he's eyeing the possibility of a federal lottery. Arkansans have wasted millions chasing hopes of winning the lottery, just so Halter could make a name for himself on the national stage. Halter doesn't care about the debris he leaves in his wake, just his political ambitions.

    March 1, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. Conservative equals illiterate ignorance

    No need commenting, CNN only prints the less controversial unless it aligns with thier own agenda, so much for unbiased news, yeah right and elephants can fly from birth.

    March 1, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  5. Chad from Tampa

    She voted for Obamacare which means her career in politics is done.

    March 1, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  6. Russ, Benton, AR

    Sen. Lincoln is a Republican hiding in Democrat clothes, it's time for her to go.

    March 1, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  7. Roger

    I am so glad Senator Lincoln the so called democrat who acts like a selfish republican who is one of the so called conservative democrats responsible for the failure of the american citizens not getting health care. I hope her challenger knocks her out of the running.....

    March 1, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  8. alphonso

    now its time 4 the mayor of las vages 2 step up and beat harry reid 2 save the dems n november

    March 1, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. Ben

    Looks like Blanche is going down one way or the other.

    March 1, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  10. Dean

    It is time to replace all incumbents.

    March 1, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  11. Sarge in Florida

    That's what I've been saying the whole time is that we need young New Blood in Washington. Enough of these OLD Kroonies...

    March 1, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  12. Barbara Independent in NY

    This is great. The "Blue Dogs" are not listening to their constituents. They should all have to face a primary challenge.

    March 1, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  13. Darryn

    The Democrats are providing great political theater – as they destroy theselves from the inside.

    This is the Democratic Party that America knows.

    March 1, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  14. America Has Shrugged

    I'll support any progressive Democrat over any DINO who will only vote for HCR if their state gets a ton of tax payer money. Enough of these DINO's.

    March 1, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  15. babs reinard

    she is not a democrat-get her out. He will fight for the dems causes.

    March 1, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  16. maine liberal

    republicans need to wake up. This disatisfaction with incumbent democrats in the senate does not mean we are ready to vote republican. Quite the opposite we want democrats with a spine.

    republicans just dont get it. ( while it is true that we dont like the senate healthcare bill, we do however prefer the stronger House bill with the public option).

    We have yet to see a republican bill longer than a 1 page outline of talking down points.

    republicans like to point out the 2700 page bill, i would suggest that they review the number of pages in a typical heath insurance plan.

    March 1, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  17. Alex390

    God always has the last word because,he knows who is wrong and
    who is right. you and I don't know anything we just see people as they
    are,good appearance,excellent speech but, we don't know their
    heart God is the only one who knows the inside.

    March 1, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  18. Truth Hurts

    Very good, too bad i don't live in Arkansas so that i could help to vote her out. She needs to go, let her insurance buddies take care of her when she's out of a job. Oh wait, they will dump her also seeing she won't be in a position to help them anymore.

    March 1, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  19. Read the constitution

    Progressive = communist.

    Be careful America...we are being hoodwinked by the far left fringe of this country.

    March 1, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  20. Donkey Party

    Let her run as a Republican. Her beliefs more closely mirror theirs anyway.

    March 1, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  21. annie s

    Arkansas values? What are those? Sticking your head in the sand so that you can't see that the Dems are fixing what the conservatives broke?

    March 1, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  22. montag

    Bye, bye Blanche. And good riddance.

    March 1, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  23. Kevin in Ohio

    You reap what you sow, Senator. If you had LISTENED to the American people, it might be different.

    March 1, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  24. eolufemi

    I am pleased to hear that the democrats are fielding somebody to challenge this woman. She's been a thorn in our side for the past year and overly concerned about re-election as opposed to addressing the problems we face as a nation. We need people who actually care about the American people, not just ideological cowards that fall in line with whoever seems to have the momentum.

    March 1, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  25. Cindy PA

    With the real unemployment number between 17 and 24%, we have the Democratic Party in Congress driving this nation into bankruptcy. The Democrats / liberals better be prepared for loses in 2010 and 2012, in 1994 historians say the Democrat loses was a slaughter; the 2010 and 2012 election cycle is going to be a massacre. No one is going to vote for these Democrats / liberals

    March 1, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
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