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. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Bye Bye Blanche.... Good Riddance!

    March 1, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. Zach K

    I like them both. I just hope whomever wins can hold a Democratic seat in the Senate. The 2010 Midterm Elections are CRUCIAL.

    March 1, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. Renee

    You go Bill.

    March 1, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. HBO

    BBB = Bye Bye Blanche

    March 1, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. socal frank


    Let's hope that the people of Arkansas have not been completely lobotomized by the right-wing Kool-Aid being served up by Faux News. Arkansas produced one great Democrat in Harry Truman. Give 'em hell Bill Halter! We're with you all the way!

    March 1, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    We've got a Lincoln a challenger. Next up: Landrieu, Nelson & Baucus. Blue Dogs, you've done this to yourselves. We The People wanted a public option and you guys and gals turned your backs on us. Well we're turning our backs on you! When majority of the democratic caucus demands a public option, it would behoove you to listen up and follow suit with the rest of the party. You didn't, therefore you will be primaried. Deal with it!

    March 1, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. Arlando L. Cantley

    I'm so glad yet sad about Senator Lincoln. She's been a very good centrist Senator in a "conservative Southern state." But, if she must fall, we should always have a Plan B-a contingency plan. I have contingency plans for everything in my life. The more progressive handsome and popular Lt. Gov. Hatler is that Plan B. Mr. Hatler wins the primary by going left and then goes to the center to win in November. Even if Mr. Hatler doesn't win, hopefully the sisterhood will drive up Senators Lincolns numbers in the polls and help her win in November. I see a win-win here.

    March 1, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. SocialismBad

    So the 20% of this country that call themselves liberal or Progressive (means Progressive destruction of personal liberty, property and wealth) think they are going to win elections in this country by advocating MORE TAXES, MORE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER AND INTRUSION, MORE ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS????????

    Egads! These people are INSANE!!! The American people have FINALLY waken up to find their country BANKRUPT at the hands of ever growing government and entitlement programs. And these looney tunes say the answer is MORE OF THE INSANITY??!!!

    March 1, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  9. Annie, Atlanta

    SocialismBad, you talk like the 8 years of Bush never happened. Remember how he grew government? All you have are Republican talking points; catch phrases, if you will, to make enemies out of the people who don't agree with you. Tax and spend Liberals, socialism is bad, progressives are evil, government run health care (like those in Congress who bash it enjoy), or my personal favorite, Obamacare, and on and on.

    You can demonize us all you want because that's all you have, but it's not based on fact and for those of us actually paying attention, you just sound silly. I'm not your enemy. I'm not evil. I'm an American citizen (your neighbor) who loves my country and wants what's best for it's people, not just it's politicians, corporations, and bankers.

    March 1, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. Joseph

    Let's see how many socialist democrats will be left after 2010 mid-term election. American people are despised of these socialists who are inspired to spend every penny of taxpayers' money that will bankrupts American soon if they are not stopped at elections.

    March 1, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. brian

    Any change would probably be an improvement

    March 1, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  12. Dysfunctional Palin's Malfunctioning "Palm" Pilot

    Goodbye, Blanche!!! Looks like your corporate ties have bound you out of a job! Sucka!

    March 1, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. Annie, Atlanta

    annieL @9:32 – Bill Halter has a web site at where you can donate. You can also go to the Act Blue online site and see if there is a page set up for him.

    March 1, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. mike

    just so you conedservatives know ... The opposite of 'liberal' ... Just so you know ... 'not broad-minded – Bigoted – lacking education – lacking culture & refinement – not generous ...

    Rather be a 'liberal' that any of the things associated with being 'illiberal' ...

    Main Entry: il·lib·er·al
    Pronunciation: \(ˌ)i(l)-ˈli-b(ə-)rəl\
    Function: adjective
    Etymology: Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin illiberalis ignoble, stingy, from Latin in- + liberalis liberal
    Date: 1535

    : not liberal: as a archaic (1) : lacking a liberal education (2) : lacking culture and refinement b : not requiring the background of a liberal arts education c archaic : not generous : stingy d : not broad-minded : bigoted e : opposed to liberalism

    March 1, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. Steve (the real one)

    Dutch/BAd Newz, VA March 1st, 2010 10:07 am ET

    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
    Dutch, are you telling me that centrists and moderates no longer have a voice in your party? What about the party of the big tent mantra? What about the party of tolerance mantra? don't get me wrong because the GOP is about the same except your party has the cute mantras!

    March 1, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. Sasha

    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.

    To keep the 20 "pure" Republicans company no doubt.

    March 1, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. Steve in Denver

    @ I Want Mines:

    You aren't just a little racist, are you? You have enough hate in you to whip Iran single handedly. I'll chip in for your ticket to Baghdad, you can cross the border and start the war! Might be good for you to use some of that anger towards an enemy of America, rather than other Americans.

    March 1, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  18. Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR

    For all those non-Arkansans out there, stop acting like you know anything about the people of Arkansas. We have a Democratic governor, two Democratic senators, several Dem. reps in the House. Stop saying we're so conservative because we aren't.

    The people of Arkansas are good people who care about others–not just big business. That's the problem with Lincoln and it has nothing to do with her being "moderate."

    Bill Halter was elected to be Lt. Governor because he has policies that helped everyday Arkansans–nothing more, nothing less. We like him, so we'll elect him again.

    March 1, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  19. Steve in Denver

    @Monster Zero: Greenspan under Clinton led to where we are now? Clinton and the '92 Dems balanced the budget. W and company are what bankrupted us.

    I know you are going for the low information voters, but really, the last 8 years did happen! Wreckless spending by Reagan and Bush I in the name of supply side economics brought us, at that time, unheard of debt and slim growth. Clinton balanced the budget with a tax increase, paid as we go, and we had phenominal growth in the '90s. Then the last wrecking crew came in, went back to supply side (voodoo) economics, and we're in the fix we're in now.

    You're entitled to your opinion, but the facts do not support your opinion.

    March 1, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  20. Ray

    He is just another career political insider who will be like all the rest.

    March 1, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. citizen - you better BELIEVE it !

    Hey Everyone ! TERM LIMITS
    Pay attention AMERICAN VOTERS.
    Wear PINK to the NOVEMBER elections. VOTE OUT those that have been in tooooooooo long and that did NOTHING they were voted in to do. We have the VOTE – it's OUR say as to WHO we want in and WHAT WE want done for US and this country. NOVEMBER is PINK SLIP time. VOTE OUT the "do nothings that are thinking of their OWN interest". It's in OUR BEST INTEREST TO make a STATEMENT in NOVEMBER. SHAKE the politicians up and LET'S SEE WHO PAYS ATTENTION TO THE VOTERS. WE HAVE THE POWER – the POWER OF OUR VOTE. REMEMBER OUR VOTES ARE TERM LIMITS.

    March 1, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. No Progressive Pigs

    We do not need any more progressive pigs!!! Don't support Halter....stop the government entitlement programs for slackers healthcare reform

    March 1, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. Rick Maryville TN

    Say Goodbye Mrs Wal Mart.....

    March 1, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  24. richeyrich

    Good for Halter. As an Arkansan, I can tell you, Lincoln is nothing more than a Republican in Democrats clothing. All you have to do is look at her voting record.

    March 1, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  25. Sue

    This article is titled "A Blow to Dems" because...........

    Lincoln is in a conservative leaning seat.

    There is NO way that voters are going to vote for/support someone that is even more liberal than Lincoln.

    Therefore, this is going to make the win for the Republican candidate that much easier.

    We will see the polls in about two moths liberals!!!

    This liberal Dem Haltier is NOT going to win!!!

    March 1, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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