Blanche Lincoln tacks left, opponent raises fortune

Liberals send Bill Halter $100K as Lincoln belatedly fights the banks

By Alex Pareene

Published May 4, 2010 9:10PM (EDT)

Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.
Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee has raised $100,000 for Arkansas' Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, who is mounting a primary challenge against Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Walmart. No one's quite sure if that's good news or bad news for Democrats.

Lincoln's reelection in an increasingly conservative state looks like a long shot. Her negatives are horrible. Halter may benefit from general anti-incumbent fervor, but a more liberal candidate probably won't do much better with the Arkansas electorate than a "moderate" like Lincoln. So are liberals throwing away their only shot at keeping a Senate seat in a conservative state?

I don't know. But the more Halter raises, the better off we'll all be. After she killed the public option and came out against the Employee Free Choice Act, the threat of a credible primary challenge delivered Lincoln's vote on healthcare and even got her to take a hard line on derivatives in financial reform.

Barack Obama just cut an ad for Lincoln that plays up her support for strong financial reform and her vote for healthcare:

If Halter keeps raising money, Lincoln will be demanding a hard carbon tax and voting to nationalize the oil industry. (But she'll have to hurry -- the primary is in two weeks and Democratic voters all hate her for the rest of her entire Senate career.)

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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2010 Elections Blanche L. Lincoln D-ark. Blanche Lincoln Vs. Bill Halter