May 18th, 2010
11:48 AM ET
12 years ago

Lincoln, Halter hope for a win on primary day in Arkansas

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Blanche Lincoln and Bill Halter are vying for the Democratic Senate nomination in Arkansas."]Little Rock, Arkansas (CNN) – Democrats have held the Senate seat that is currently up for grabs in Arkansas for 131 years. Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Lt. Gov. Bill Halter hope to keep it that way. But the two Democrats are battling over who deserves to keep their party's streak going.

On Tuesday, Halter cast an early morning vote for himself. But Lincoln experienced a bit of a mix up: election officials had her listed as already voting absentee. Lincoln's campaign says the senator requested an absentee ballot but never filled it out. They expect for the issue to be resolved.

The potentially pivotal primary is attracting national attention. Lincoln, seeking a third term and endorsed by President Obama, is running as a moderate Democrat who prides herself on finding pragmatic solutions, even if it puts her at odds with her party. Halter, backed by several labor unions, has flanked his campaign to the left of the senator and supports many positions that liberals identify with.

A third candidate, Arkansas businessman DC Morrison, has very little name ID in the state and polls show low support for him.

Lincoln led in several polls ahead of the primary election. But support for Morrison could pull away votes from her and force a run-off next month between the top two vote getters. A candidate would have to receive at least 50-percent of the vote in the primary to avoid a run-off.

With hopes of reaching that threshold, both candidates continued campaigning on Tuesday, touting their positives to voters. Among the points Lincoln often makes is that her chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry benefits Arkansas farmers and that she is currently fighting to hold Wall Street accountable amid the debate over financial reform.

For his part, Halter mentions his efforts to establish a state-run lottery in Arkansas, where proceeds help provide educational scholarships, his experience in the public and private sectors, and Halter casts himself as agent of change.

But the battle for the Democratic nomination has also turned ugly. Among the slams, the Lincoln campaign claims that Halter is a creature of interests that lie outside of Arkansas – something he denies. And Halter insists that Lincoln is a captive of special interests – something she denies.

Critics also derided Lincoln as "Bailout Blanche" because of her vote for the financial bailout, have blasted her opposition to the public option in the health care bill, and her later vote against the reconciliation package. Lincoln voted for the bill that ultimately emerged from the Senate, lacking a public option.

Halter critics previously called him "Dollar Bill," claiming he outsourced jobs to India as a businessman and claimed that he wants to raise Social Security taxes and cut benefits.

Ultimately, voters will decide who should represent Arkansas, considering the candidates' positions on those and other issues.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face off against one of eight Republicans, also facing a primary on Tuesday. Rep. John Boozman leads in most recent polls, but he could be forced into a runoff next month.

Filed under: 2010 • Arkansas • Bill Halter • Blanche Lincoln
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. SocialismBad

    I hope the people of Arkansas aren't dumb enough to send someone even more far left and in Odummie's back pocket back to the Senate.

    If they think "Bailout Blanche" was bad, they'll get even worse with a far left replacement.

    May 18, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Let's go Halter. Get the Blue Dog Democrats out of our caucus. Blanche Lincoln voted against healthcare reform when the smart and obvious thing to do was to for Yes for it.

    May 18, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |

    What ever happens with these two happens, the important thing is,

    Vote NO In NOvember to the party of NO.

    May 18, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Lincoln is a tool. Gotta go.

    May 18, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Ken in NC

    Blanche Lincoln must go. Vote early people and vote often. If you can get the entire day off you should spend it voting every chance you get for Lt. Gov. Halter. Republicans do it all the time. It's OK as long as you do not get your pay for doing it until after the polls close. LOL

    May 18, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  6. Fair is Fair

    "Let's go Halter. Get the Blue Dog Democrats out of our caucus."

    Now this is a riot. What happened to your "big tent" there, Dutch? Face the facts. You're only interested in the politicians who are going to give you the biggest handout.

    May 18, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. Randy

    That has got to be the dumbest headline I have ever seen in my life. I've spent money, I've campaigned, now I hope to lose. Who writes this stuff?

    May 18, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. PalmReader

    Lincoln will hold on . . . barely.

    Having said that, strange how the democrats now are playing by GOP Tea Party rules. Cutting off your nose to spite your face isn't such a good ideal, and especially not in this mid-term.

    May 18, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. Carrotroot

    I hope Halter wins, Lincoln voted against the public option and thanks to that vote we have to live with mandated health-care as consolation prize. If Lincoln wins I hope to god the Republican beats her in the general.

    May 18, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  10. Liz the First

    Lincoln's got to go! let's hope Halter is a real Democrat!

    May 18, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    my vote is for halter,blanche has got to go,she is to much like a repug i don't know why she didn't run as one.we need true democrats,not phoney ones.

    May 18, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  12. stevegee

    Obama supports Lincoln. Democrats, that alone should be enough to make you vote for Halter just to defeat Bailout Blanche.

    Then in November, cross party lines and cast your vote against Obama's socialist agenda: vote a straight Republican ticket!

    May 18, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. Johnathan

    Go away forever you republican lites, you republicans disguised as democrats. Our party has no use for the likes of you.

    Public option will be the law of the land before it is all said and done, no thanks to unamericans like the dem senator from Arkansas.

    May 18, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  14. Michael from Ventura

    This is one day I wish I lived in Arkansas so I could vote for Halter.And to "SocialismBad": You really need to get a life!! Your song was sung and rejected. Get help!! Therapy might help you with your hate problem.

    May 18, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    @ Fair is Fair

    I'm interested in a candidate who does what the people want. Not the one who succumbs to special interest such as sen. Lincoln. I appaud her on her efforts for Wall St. reform. But Wall St. reform is a no-brainer. She should have voted yes on healthcare. Thank you very much.

    May 18, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  16. Dar

    If Odumbo is for her she is done. Everything Odumbo says anymore is stupid so people think that Blanche is, and she is for siding with him, but no matter. She is done.

    May 18, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  17. Ben

    Lincoln and Halter are both tools. Neither one deserves that seat.

    May 18, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  18. Ben

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA – "Blanche Lincoln voted against healthcare reform when the smart and obvious thing to do was to for Yes for it."

    No, the smart thing to do would have been to not pass that crapfest of a bill at all. Get ready to take it in the shorts come November.

    May 18, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  19. katiec

    Lincoln sold the American people and the Democratic party down the river for big business. She does not represent middle class America. I hope Halter wins.

    May 18, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |