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. Authority on all people?

    @Larry, it's so ridiculous to paint broad brush strokes on an entire populous because of where they live. Not an abundance of critical thinkers in the South? Hmmm. So, people don't agree with you and your policy–and that means they're not thinking? Interesting. Good luck with that philosophy in life. It won't get you far.

    Anybody in congress right now is in trouble. A scant few legislators actually care about helping people. This political posturing is sickening from both sides of the aisle and it's detrimental to our country.

    March 1, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  2. Alvin and the chipmunks

    Two losers.I wish the Canadians that post on here could mind their own business

    March 1, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  3. Fernando F

    Progressive comes from Progress... what's wrong with that? I like progress. Does anybody want to go back to the middle ages? (maybe the Republicans)

    March 1, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. NJD in CA

    As long as Fox Noise smears Halter, that must mean he's a worthwhile democrat. He's got my support!

    March 1, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  5. Tom

    Get the corporatists out of there! Lincoln is nothing more than a Republican is sheep's clothing. It's nice to know that by contributing from all over the U.S., we can help decide who we want in D.C. from every state. Now, if only the morons that elected her would wake up.

    March 1, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  6. Allen

    The Republicans will win in Arkansas this November. There may be still a large lot of Democrats in Arkansas, but there are few Communist. Sorry East Coast and West Coast Dems, you will lose this seat.

    March 1, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. Watchdog

    I love these libs who think challenging moderate candidates from the left is the answer! Makes it so easy to take back congress!....By the way CNN...Who is the Republican candidate? You know....the WINNER!

    March 1, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. Eddie

    She can go join all the other up and coming "X" Democratic Senate/House members! I hear there's a good Dem Retirement home somewhere in Cuba.....or is it in Venezuela?

    March 1, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  9. j

    I think Bill Halter would make a much better representative for Arkansas. Blanche Lincoln just isn't a strong enough advocate for her constituents.

    March 1, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  10. FRANK, LAS VEGAS

    Good, she needs to go, along with the other conservative democrats and ALL of the conservative, do nothing but obstruct republicans! Congress is indeed broken right now but it can be easily fixed by electing more democrats. People who work for the people and not the corporations. Throw out every republican in 2010!

    March 1, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  11. SocialismBad

    Yet more of the Progressive/Socialist Democrats eating their own moderate wing. It is very interesting that the Democrats think the answer is MORE Progressives in Washington that want to grow the federal government even more.

    Talk about OUT OF TOUCH with the American people!

    March 1, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. surveyman

    No one more liberal than Lincoln is going to win that seat. Keep it up Dems, and you'll have 40 "pure" Democrats in the Senate in a few years.

    March 1, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  13. Mike in MN

    If progressive organizations are supporting Halter than he is a progressive. Progressives see the solution to every real or imangined problem in the universe as more government programs, more government control over our lives and more government spending. After just a year of liberal/progressive rule people are already sick of their more and more government and more and more spending agenda.
    Conservatives will rule in 2010 and 2012. A solid majority of Americans have already figured out we can't afford liberal/progressives and they prefer to run their own lives, not have the government run it for them. Progressive is just another word for socialist.

    March 1, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. Miss Independence

    I guess all you liberals are OK with these corporations donating all this $$$$ to elect a former Clinton employee....what major hypocrisy for the left.....but hey, no less than I expected of you...even down to the raving lunatic who somehow cannot help themselves and bring the Bush administration in...next you wackadoos will start bleating Halburton...even if you have no idea what you are talking about!

    March 1, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  15. linda

    Good! Lincoln does not represent her constituents – she represents special interests and all the donors to her political coffers.

    Hopefully, Halter will win, as will other challengers around the country, and Washington will start working for a change – a really
    long time since Washington has worked.

    Boot out all of the wingnuts – party of NO – and bring in some fresh new ideas and people, and get rid of the do nothing Republicans and Democrats!

    March 1, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  16. Ben

    Sniffit – "Is that sort of like "compassionate conservatism" being code for "warmongering religio-fascist"?"

    Yet more nonsensical ravings from the Hate America First crowd?

    "So are a lot of incumbent Republicans. To stick with the cliches: don't count them chickens until they've hatched."

    You still don't get it, do you? The Democrats WILL lose seats. A BUNCH of 'em. It's just a question of how many. Apparently you're one of the few who hasn't gotten the meesage yet. Still sniffing glue, I see.

    March 1, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  17. Maggie in Canada

    To Alvin and the Chipmunks: You sound super-sensitive. Many of the 'Canadian' postings are, in fact, from Americans who are living and working in Canada. So perhaps you should try not to assume.
    Besides, we are your neighbor and what affects you may just affect us, in not too nice a way. What are you going to say when the big corporations buy your next representative, instead of you, the voter?

    March 1, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  18. Peggy Lucas, Middletown, Pennsylvania

    Maybe if she would have acted and voted like a Democrat, she would not have opposition. If I lived in Arkansas, I would vote for Mr. Halter. Ben Nelson needs to go along with Mary Landieu.

    March 1, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. Save America from the democrats...

    ...so the corporations have free reign!

    March 1, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  20. Julian Williams

    KICK HER OUT! I wish i never supported her, i'm for Bill Halter. Everything about this woman is fake, all the way down to her accent.

    March 1, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. Liz

    Good! maybe we'll get a real Democrat in that seat and maybe it'll put the fear of God into the other blue dogs. we don't need DINOs.

    March 1, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  22. Karl

    She needs to go... and take LIEberman with you, Blanche.

    March 1, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  23. Ben

    FRANK, LAS VEGAS – You honestly think electing more Democrats is going to solve all our problems? Have you been paying attention? It's mainly BECAUSE of Democrats that we're in the mess we're in right mow. Laying the blame for everything at the feet of the Repubs is just beyond rediculous.

    March 1, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  24. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in just 1 year!

    I just donated my 50 bucks to Governor Halter towards the 500K(already at 138K).

    The "blue dogs" will do well to pay attention to how fast Halter gets half a million donated to his campaign, then realize you DINOs have more to worry about than just the racist tea baggers, Reds and rednecks.

    Consider this a warning.

    You tea baggers better start donating to Blanche!

    March 1, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  25. voomies

    Good riddance. We need hard set term limits on these professional congress folks. The US consumer is dead and Congress cannot nor will not help. I work for the website Storyburn where the economic mess that lands on our doorstep is getting worse. We have the most read home foreclosure stories on the web as well as several job hunting stories

    March 1, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
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