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. I voted for Obama and proud of it in Oregon

    now thats sounds good get in and get something done

    March 1, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  2. billy123

    Good there is no way Senator Lincoln will win relection anyway.

    March 1, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  3. Jim Hanson

    this is good news.

    blanche lincoln is _not_ a democrat.

    she is against climate change legislation, public option, unions, blacks appointnments to the federal courts, you can go on and on. she talks about balancing the budget and controlling spending and then pushes huge tax breaks for the wealthy in the stimulus and other bills.

    i guess you could chalk that up to being a conservative democrat but the thing that is just outrageous is that she has fillibustered and has threatened to fillibuster key democrat bills.

    when you block majority votes of your own party–you aren't part of your party anymore. good riddance blanche lincoln. you are a sad tool of the corporate and wealthy interests you over and over vote for.

    March 1, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  4. christine

    Just another talk the talk-er

    March 1, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  5. What the Huh!

    For the democrats to allow Lt. Gov. Bill Halter to run against Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the primary election, they must have 1) given up on Lincoln's chances of winning in the November general election, or 2) she is waivering on Obama's health scare vote and Hairy Reed is putting pressure on her to vote for it, after which Halter will take himself out of the race. Can Halter top her? Keep abreast.

    March 1, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. I am the Wizard of Rush and I say . . .

    Buh – bye Blanche.

    March 1, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. blue dogs are history.

    Shes like trying to get a downer cow to market.Hope she got plenty of Insurance company bag money.Were sure she will get a great job with United Health Group.

    March 1, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. sam

    Vote Lincoln out. Get a real Democrat in there. He will get my donations and support!!!!!!

    March 1, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  9. Minnesota gal

    Suprising blow.....they have been trying to get some high profile democrat to run against this corporate senator for some time. I hope he snows her under. She does not deserve to be representative of the state of Arkansas. Over 67% of the people want health care with a public option and this greedy insurance person wouldn't vote for it and says she would filbuster. WELL I HOPE THEY PEOPLE OF ARKANSAS FILBUSTER HER RIGHT OUT OF OFFICE. BLOW INDEED THEY ARE GLAD TO HOPE THEY GET RID OF HER.

    March 1, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  10. MJH

    It's not just the Republicans that are moving away from the center. Given his financial support from and the Daily Kos, Halter can be described as a certified leftist. The political center is under assult from extremes in both parties.

    March 1, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. Scott, Tucson

    I like how the liberals are now calling themselves Progressives as a sort of camouflage to hide their true nature of being a Socialist.

    March 1, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  12. Matt

    This is GREAT news for the state of Arkansas! As an Arkansan – I couldn't be happier! Bye Bye Blanche!!

    March 1, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  13. mike

    Move this one back to a safe Dem seat ... Halter is very popular in Arkansas ... Besides Harry Reid & Ben Nelson, I couldn't think of a Senate Dem I'd rather see go. Lincoln is TERRIBLE ... She should just run as a GoPer and be done with it ...

    March 1, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  14. Amy in Maine

    Oh, either you changed the headline or I misread it the first time. If so, my bad. Now I see it says Surprising blow for Dem, meaning a blow to Blanche. That's OK.

    March 1, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  15. Susan L.

    Yay! She's one of the worst of the Conserva-Dems. She deserves to be primaried. Hopefully we might get an actual Democrat out of it rather than just a Republican-Lite like Lincoln.

    March 1, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Poor lady, its bad enough the repubs are gangin up, then you have the "progressives" and you know they are the most crooked and despicalble organizations around. How's that Biden thing doing for you Blanche? Do you feel "hope and change" or "despair and idiocy" like everyone else that voted for Obozo.

    March 1, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  17. dave in NH

    Throw the Bums out !!

    Regardless of their party !!!

    New blood is what is needed. We are Tired of nothing being done.

    March 1, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  18. Jeff in Virginia

    This is not a surprise to anybody who has been paying attention to the Senate.

    The score is very simple. If you are a Democrat In Name Only, you will be primaried.

    March 1, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    Blanche had a chance to support Arkansans by standing up for health reform with the public option, but took the threats, lies and fear tactics from the rabid right too seriously. Had she read the bill, she would have known that this is not a government takeover like Fox and the GOP lied about.

    March 1, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  20. Anonymous

    Good! "Blue Dog" turncoat Lincoln needs to run as a Taliban candidate where she belongs.

    March 1, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  21. andrew

    So the radical left is supporting the challenger, yet they are casting her as the radical?? Come on! I hope the people can see through this charade and not be deceived.

    March 1, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  22. andrew

    This is an outright attempt by Moveon and their radical political machine to remove a moderate democrat who truly listens to and speaks for the people. Do not be deceived!!

    March 1, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  23. Keith

    As a resident of Arkansas. All I can say is...NOOOOOO!!! I didn't want Halter as Lt. Governor, but I sure don't want him as a Senator. I mean as Lt. Governor he can't do much harm. I don't see how he thinks he can win. The people of Arkansas think that Blanche Lincoln is too liberal. How is he going to win by running to her left? He will loose the primary and this will only aid the Republicans hoping to unseat Blanche Lincoln because she will now have to use her campaign funds against him in the primary. The only good thing about this is, that at least when Halter looses (and he will) maybe he won't run for office again in Arkansas.

    March 1, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. Ethan

    Just threw $100 to Mr. Halter! Who wants to join me? Go here:

    March 1, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. Wanda in Montana

    This is good news for Democrats, not a "blow" of any sort! It's time to kick these Blue Dog Republicans out of the Democratic party and get some candidates who will start representing people and not big corporate interests!!!!!!! You go Mr. Halter!

    March 1, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
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