Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter made it official this morning, announcing he'll challenge Sen. Blanche Lincoln for the Democratic Senate nomination in Arkansas.
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Halter could have a significant advantage in a general election Lincoln would not -- the support of national progressives and the Netroots. Lincoln's voting record over the past year has drawn the ire of national leaders on the left, who objected to her opposition to so-called "card check" legislation and the inclusion of a public option in health care reform. For months, progressive groups have been on the ground in Arkansas, building an organization to help a defeat Lincoln in a primary while urging Halter to run.
And more to the point, Lincoln is almost certainly going to lose by at least 60%/40% if she gets the nomination. There's no evidence Halter will do any better, except that his popularity in his home state is considerably higher than Lincoln's. On the other hand, he certainly can't do any worse- and if he pulls off the miracle twice, beating Lincoln in the primary and beating the Republican (probably Rep. Jon Boozman- yes, that really is his name), then the Democrats will have traded in a Blue Dog Republican-in-All-But-Name for a moderate liberal.
MoveOn.org agrees, and has come out for Halter.
MoveOn Executive Director Justin Ruben said in a statement they consider Lincoln "one of the worst corporate Democrats in Washington."
"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," Ruben said.
And it probably says everything that needs to be said about what's wrong with the Obama presidency that he's backing the incumbent, Lincoln.