Arkansas Democratic primary drawing national attention


The battleground is white hot in Arkansas even though a half year remains between now and the general election. That is because many Democrats have decided that investing in Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) only to have her vote frequently with Republicans is a reason to try to upend her before the Republicans have a chance.

Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, who is largely credited with getting a popular state lottery under way to help fund a college scholarship program, is running at Lincoln from the left, and has a great deal of support from several different types of Democratic activist organizations.

According to the Washington Post, Emily’s List, a group focused on women’s issues, has abandoned Lincoln, and progressive groups and unions are pouring money into the state, and into television advertising. Halter is also using the radio to press his case.

Lincoln, who entered the 2010 season with what would normally looked like a well-stocked campaign warchest, is being forced to use some of it in the spring. This is a problem, because she has been seen as an endangered senator even before being challenged by members of her own party. The Cook Political Report puts the prospects for the seat in the toss-up category; CQPolitics rates it Leans Republican.

RBR-TVBR observation: Democrats are used to this kind of intramural dissention – even though the party it is somewhat more homogenous now than it was in the late 60s, when it really covered just about all conceivable political niches. What makes 2010 so interesting is the fact that the generally-unified Republicans are getting a taste of the same thing thanks to the Tea Party movement.

The good news for broadcasters here is that it will likely be a double dip year in the battle for a statewide office. Big spending in the spring and the fall equals a nice windfall for broadcasters that make themselves attractive to political time buyers.