Goal ThermometerDemocracy for America (in an email blast):

Blanche Lincoln is a Wall Street puppet for the insurance industry that has contributed over $2 million to her campaign. While over 56% of Arkansas voters wanted the choice of a public option, Lincoln vowed on the Senate floor she'd filibuster healthcare reform unless the public option was stripped from the bill. Senator Lincoln stood up and the insurance companies won [...]

Bill Halter is a solid Democrat, an Arkansas progressive, and a populist leader. He's fought for working men and women and delivered real change for Arkansas. His track record as Lt. Governor proves it [...]

We told the Healthcare Villains we would not forget. We showed them how popular the public option was in their state and nationwide. We warned them not to choose insurance companies over the Americans people.

Now it's too late for Senator Blanche Lincoln.

Fox News:

Check out billhalter.com, and you'll see instantly why incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-AR, who was already facing a very rough re-election effort with her abyssmal approval ratings, should be even more worried.

A fresh-faced, charming young lieutenant governor, named Bill Halter, in announcing his bid to take on Lincoln, is actually seen getting out of a pickup truck at one point in the campaign ad (is this the Scott Brown formula??) -- and even more astounding, one of the things he touts is healthcare reform.  It's not clear what version, because he rather craftily keeps it general in nature. Halter castigates Washington as "broken" - a place that's "protecting insurance company profits, instead of protecting patients and lowering healthcare costs."

Sam Stein, Huffington Post:

The race is likely to become a proxy battle for the larger debate within the Democratic Party between progressives who believe sticking to core values is the best way to win office and the self-styled pragmatists who argue that they must adopt more conservative positions when running in traditionally more conservative states.

John Brummett, Arkansas News:

Republicans will celebrate the Democratic divisiveness and that Lincoln must now deplete her mammoth resources in the primary.

Establishment Democrats, meaning party insiders, didn’t like Halter anyway, certainly don’t like him now and will rally the apparatus, to the extent it exists with effectiveness, to push him back.

Right away we need to see if Halter, whose impetus into this race is from the unlikely left, favors card check, cap-and-trade and the health care reform bill as advanced by Harry Reid and modified last week by the White House. Those are three good opening questions for him when he files tomorrow. The state’s business establishment, meaning the chambers of commerce, the Farm Bureau, the utilities, will be scared to death of Halter.

Meantime, there’s been an interesting dynamic lately as I’ve been around the state talking to this group and that. It’s that I deliever some remarks about the anti-Obama fervor in the state and how Lincoln is caught up in it, and then the first question I get is from some liberal mad at Lincoln from the other direction over health care or estate taxes.

Politics is largely about passion, and I see none for Lincoln and the potential for some for Halter.

MoveOn, in fundraising email:

Blanche Lincoln is one of the worst corporate Democrats in Washington. That's why 92 percent of Arkansas MoveOn members voted to support Bill Halter over Blanche Lincoln in a primary election. Instead of fighting for the health care reform Arkansas families desperately need, she took nearly a million ($866,000) from Big Insurance and HMO interests and then played a leading role in opposing the public health insurance option. She took $1.3 million from Wall Street banks and helped kill legislation that would've allowed struggling homeowners to stay in their homes.  And she sponsored a bill to roll back the Clean Air Act to protect corporate profits. With Bill Halter, our Arkansas members see a candidate who will stand up to special interests.  Arkansans deserve someone who'll fight for them, not Wall Street.

MSNBC's First Read:

While Arlen Specter vs. Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania and Michael Bennet vs. Andrew Romanoff in Colorado are competitive Democratic primaries, they haven't featured the same level of involvement from the left that we're now seeing in the Lincoln-vs.-Halter race.

Max Brantley, Arkansas Times:

Lincoln's money quote:  "I know that I am not only fighting for you, I am fighting for what is fair and right."

For who -- credit card companies? Polluters? Health insurance companies? Wall Street tycoons?

Another money quote: She's the rope in a "tug of war" between outside special interests.

Special interests: Working men and women of Arkansas. Sick people in Arkansas. People who want to breathe clean Arkansas air. People who favor sustainable agriculture. Those kinds of special interests are indeed tugging, against the Chamber of Commerce and tycoons of Arkansas on the other end. And losing with Lincoln.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Mar 01, 2010 at 06:18 PM PST.

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