June 8th, 2010
01:41 PM ET
10 years ago

Lincoln sounds note of party unity

Little Rock, Arkansas (CNN) – Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Arkansas, began the day that could end her Senate career insisting she feels good about pulling off a win, but also vowing to support her Democratic opponent should he snatch the party's nomination.

"I'll always support the Democratic Party of Arkansas. I'm a Democrat," Lincoln told CNN in an interview at her first stop of the day to greet voters.

For the past three weeks, Lincoln has been locked in a runoff against her Democratic challenger, Lt. Gov Bill Halter, trying to avoid becoming the latest incumbent lawmaker torched by anti-Washington fever.

Standing on the side of the road near a polling station here, Lincoln conceded she may not have fully appreciated the depths of this year's wave against incumbents, but insists she does now.

"I would say that we may have underestimated the anti-incumbent mood," Lincoln said.

"I think people are angry. They're enormously frustrated with Washington and I am too. I think they're frustrated without a doubt at our lack of results, and that happens."

Over and over, the moderate Democrat decries what she calls the special interests who have come to Arkansas to spend millions of dollars to defeat her.

Many of those "special interests" are traditional supporters of Democrats who are unhappy with Lincoln, who is one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate.

The biggest of those forces working against Lincoln is organized labor, which, according to union sources, descended on Arkansas with some $6 million worth of television and radio ads and have had members make more than 700,000 phone calls against Lincoln.

Those union sources make crystal clear their goal is to make an example out of Lincoln for not supporting some of their priorities, like the public health insurance option which did not make the cut as part of Democrats' health care law. They want to use this effort as a warning to other Democrats that they cross unions at their own peril.

Lincoln tells CNN that some had suggested to her that she respond to that by switching parties, but said "absolutely not."

"I believe in who Democrats are and what our Democratic Party stands for," said Lincoln. "What does it mean for our country if we're going to allow special interest groups that polarize so much in this country that we get nothing done."

No matter who wins the Democratic nomination for Senate here, multiple party sources concede it will be hard to keep the seat out of GOP hands in this conservative state, especially in such a tough political climate for Democrats.

In an interview with CNN Monday, Halter suggested he would be the better candidate to run against Republican Jim Boozman. Why? Because Halter is already running an anti-Washington campaign, and Boozman is a sitting congressman who voted for the unpopular Wall Street bailout.

"I'm running anywhere from 5 to 11 points better against Congressman Boozman in the polls and I think the reasons for that are that I've been very independent here, willing to stand up to special interests," Halter told CNN.

When Lincoln heard that argument her reaction was visceral.

"What does that mean? That's just a slogan," said Lincoln.

But Democratic Party sources have quietly suggested to CNN that if Halter should defeat Lincoln, it may not be that bad for Democrats if there truly is a national wave against Washington.

Lincoln scoffed at that as well.

"Call me old fashioned but I think its more important to talk about who we are and what we want to be as a nation as opposed to just fighting these petty battles of throw the suckers out and start all over again," said Lincoln.

She'll find out when polls close Tuesday whether members of her own party agree.

Filed under: 2010 • Arkansas • Bill Halter • Blanche Lincoln
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Johnathan

    You, Ms. Lincoln, are no democrat.

    Better luck in your corporate lobbying job. They still want to get their monies worth out of you.

    June 8, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Blanche has gotta go. She is the worst type of politician, perpetually putting the finger to the wind....always changing her tune depending on which audience she is speaking to. Halter all the way.

    June 8, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. get real

    Sure, you say that now. We're not buying it.

    June 8, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  4. LovesIrony

    "Call me old fashioned but I think its more important to talk about who we are and what we want to be as a nation..."

    Yo Blanche,

    Talk is not important...Action is

    oh and don't let the door hit you on the way out

    June 8, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I'll always support the Democratic Party of Arkansas. I'm a Democrat,"

    You lie too much Blanche. Your Democratic Party leaders in Washington no less wanted the Public Option. You came down with a severe case of amnesia and forgot that you were a Democrat then, and held up the proceedings, eventually voting AGAINST it. So don't come waving your Party flag now. The party is over for you. Go home.

    June 8, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  6. katiec

    It is not so much anti incumbent as it as anti any politician who supports big business over the American people. Lincoln has not been faithful as a representative of the people and is now paying the price.
    Any politician who puts Wall St over our welfare HAS to be voted out.

    June 8, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  7. Susan L.

    A bit late there, Blanche. You've been spouting Republican rhetoric for so long, you apparently forgot what it is to be a Democrat entirely. People always vote for the real thing rather than the ersatz. You are neither a Democrat nor a Republican. You're an incumbent who's desperate to keep your Washington, DC home.

    June 8, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. Ken in NC

    Blanche Lincoln is a joke. A few months ago she was talking crap about health care and now she speaks of how she helped President Obama get Reform passed. She takes big money from the oil companies and works for them while acting like she works for the people that hired her. Not much differnece in her and "Half Gov Palin" except maybe stupidity on the part of Palin.

    June 8, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. RTB

    Blanche Lincoln is a hypocrite and a dishonest gas bag.

    She does not stand up for the Democratic principles, nor does she represent the people who put her in office in the first place..

    She is in the pockets of the corporate special interests.

    Send her packing – elect a real democrat.

    June 8, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. thor

    Maybe if this politician had voted the way most Americans wanted her to vote she wouldn't be in political trouble.Proof that she still lives in la.la.land.

    June 8, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    You're going down Blanche. Give up already. I've been given up on you. All you had to do was vote yes on healthcare, but noooooo. Too bad for you.

    June 8, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  12. Who Cares?

    You're only a Democrat in name..not in actions. Which is why you are even in a race.

    Take note Blue Dogs!!

    June 8, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Ben

    The American People are now seeing that are political system is hyjack by big business. The supreme court just ruled to give big business more power to manipulate elections.

    June 8, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. citizen

    So long Walstreet hack, you and your acomlices will be rauted out

    June 8, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  15. Mesa Mick

    Stick a sock in it Blanche...It's a little late to start pandering and blovating about getting on board with the Dem party line because you believe in "looking out for the workin' man".

    June 8, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  16. Dennis

    Democrats better hope Blanche Lincoln wins. Halter cannot win the general election as he is too liberal for Arkansas.

    June 8, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  17. Brenda

    Arkansas leans conservative. The majority in the state do NOT support Obama and do NOT support Obamacare.

    The Republicans are hoping that Halter wins--as he leans further left than Blanche Lincoln--and will be easier to beat in November.

    I am one Independent who can't wait until November to vote out all of the marxist/socialist Democrats--and who is hoping that Halter wins.

    Go Halter!!!!

    June 8, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. Tony

    Arkansas is done with DEMOCRATS. Every poll shows a republican winning the senate elec tion in November.

    June 8, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. Ben in Texas

    Sounds like she's getting ready to make her concession speech.

    June 8, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. don

    Blanche; Where were you when you advertised how proud you were to vote against your party. When we needed you to stand with us you were not to be found

    June 8, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  21. John D

    Bye, Bye Blanche. Nothing could not be more precious to see this bimbo lose!

    June 8, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  22. NVa Native

    So now she speaks of party unity. Where was she when her party and our President were speaking of party unity?

    June 8, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  23. Justin

    I really think Blanche Lincoln can really pull out the vote! Coming from a 12 year old !

    June 8, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Sounds like a concession speech to me.

    That's what you get for taking bribes and betraying the American people.

    June 8, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. Moderate

    Flustrated with washington, Blanch you are washington at it's worst. Now you will see that big corporations don't elect people. People elect people.

    June 8, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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