(CNN) - Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Arkansas, said Tuesday she has no plans to return $4,500 in campaign contributions she has received from embattled Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs' political action committee or the company's employees.
"The point here is, the contribution didn't make any difference because I still produced one of the toughest reform bills that's been presented," Lincoln told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley in an interview on The Situation Room.
Lincoln has introduced legislation that she says would require 100 percent transparency in the derivatives market.
Lincoln faces a primary challenge from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in this year's election. The Halter campaign wasted no time Tuesday responding to Lincoln's decision not to return the contributions.
Washington (CNN) - Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln raised $1.3 million in the first three months of 2010 and has $4.3 million cash on hand, her campaign said Tuesday.
But Lincoln's numbers indicate she has been unable to match the pace set by Lieutenant Gov. Bill Halter, who will face off against Lincoln in the Democratic senatorial primary - now only five weeks away.
While Halter has not released official fundraising totals for the first quarter, he was able to raise $2 million in the month of March alone, campaign spokeswoman Laura Chapin told CNN Tuesday.
Halter's challenge from the left makes Lincoln's already difficult re-election bid even more complicated. Should she defeat Halter in the Democratic primary, she will still face a Republican candidate in the general election.
(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.