Sen. Blanche Lincoln is bought & paid for by anti-environmental's big money:
One of three Democratic senators who supports blocking U.S. EPA's ability to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants draws one of the highest amounts of campaign contributions from electric utilities.
Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) received $162,202 from utilities since 2005, placing her fifth overall for power plant money among senators seeking re-election this year, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
Contributions from power companies came during a period where Congress has considered a number of sweeping climate and energy bills. Lincoln chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee and also sits on the Energy & Natural Resources and Finance committees, giving her votes on policies affecting rural electricity service, energy businesses and taxes.
Environmentalists criticized what they see as Lincoln's support of utilities.
"She does what they want," said Tony Massaro, senior vice president for political affairs at the League of Conservation Voters. "She fights for electric utilities not the people of Arkansas."
Big utilities and rural electric cooperatives support Lincoln financially. The Action Committee for Rural Electrification or ACRE, the political action committee for the National Rural Electric Cooperative, gave Lincoln $10,000 over the past five years. Rural electric cooperatives are owned by members.
"We support our friends," said Patrick Lavigne, director of media and public relations for National Rural Electric Cooperative.
Bill Halter will take Blanche Lincoln down in the primary, giving Democrats a real chance in the general election. If Blanche gets in by some unfortunate stroke of luck, this Senate seat will definitely be lost. Just look at her numbers.
(For some reason, the data points aren't showing up in either of these graphs, but you can still see the averages of all polling in the top right corners of each one)
Lincoln's Favorability is in the toilet (you can see the individual polling sets of number here) :
As is her Job Approval:
You can keep an eye the Halter vs Lincoln numbers at TPM. Oh, and don't let the early numbers fool you. Now that Halter is actually in the race, things are going to change substantially. Democrats DO NOT like Lincoln. They've been waiting for a Halter to rally around.
Even Fox News sees the writing on the wall:
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."
Oops, almost forgot. The White House stands behind Blanche, which isn't all that surprising at this point. As much as I'd like them to come out swing for Bill Halter, it wouldn't look right. As long as this is about the level of their public support, than it's fine. But start actively campaigning for Lincoln or against Halter, and Houston, we will have a major problem.
"We support Senator Lincoln as an incumbent senator," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said on Monday.UPDATE V (3/2/10):
It's a new day and there are plenty of updates related to Bill Halter's announcement that he will take on Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the Arkansas Democratic primary.
Look what's happened in just the last 24 hours since Bill Halter made his announcement (via Sam Stein):
On Monday, executives with AFL-CIO voted to not only endorse Halter but also to commit $3 million in an independent expenditure campaign to help him unseat Lincoln, according to an official with the union group.
Halter also has received roughly $620,000 from MoveOn.org, which initially set a fundraising goal of half-a-million dollars, only to up the number to a full million as the money flowed in.
Additionally, he has raised more than $129,000 from more than 5,000 supporters through the online fundraising site ActBlue, with groups including Accountability Now and mega-bloggers like Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos pledging to drive even more support his way.
This is what a motivated Democratic base looks like. Pass the public option Congress and perhaps you too will experience a base that's willing to fight for you.
MSNBC's First Read wondered why progressives have jumped so quickly to support Bill Halter:
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.
Well, besides the fact that Halter is 1000% progressive from day one -- doesn't need and coaxing from the left to take positions we hold dear -- Arlen Specter & Michael Bennet are NOT the worst Conservadems in the Senate making life miserable for Democrats and President Obama on a daily basis. That would be Blanche Lincoln.
61% of her campaign donations come from outside Arkansas (like Washington D.C., New York & Texas)
From a MoveOn.org 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.
UPDATE IV (3/1/10):
Via TPM: AFL-CIO Backs Halter In Arkansas, Commits $3M To Defeat Lincoln
A labor source confirmed to TPMDC tonight that the AFL-CIO voted to back new Senate candidate Lt. Gov Bill Halter over Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the May 18 Democratic primary in Arkansas. Three unions within the umbrella group have committed to a $3 million independent expenditure on Halter's behalf.
In the day since he officially announced his intention to take on Lincoln in the primary, Halter has lined up the support from Democratic base groups, including progressive groups MoveOn.org and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. Those two, among others, raised nearly $500,000 for Halter from progressives across the country in less than 24 hours.
Via FDL's Blue Texan (h/t @wyldraven): Blanche Lincoln Responds to Primary Challenge by Calling Liberals “Extremists”
Just so we’re clear: Bill Halter is a fourth-generation Arkansan, who grew up in North Little Rock, played high school football for Little Rock Catholic, is a trustee emeritus of Stanford University, and served in the Clinton administration’s OMB before serving as the state’s Lieutenant Governor. There’s nothing even a little bit “outside” or “extreme” about him.UPDATE II:
But smearing Democratic activists is just what Blanche does. It’s who she is.
As Jed reminds us:
"... while Lincoln was taking to the Senate floor in Washington, DC to fight against the public option, Bill Halter was in Little Rock, working with the National Association of Free Clinics to help support the efforts of Countdown viewers to donate free access to medical care for the people of his state."Emphasis mine.
Blanche Lincoln responds to Bill Halter's candidacy:
Yes, we real democrats are the extremists of the party. LOL.
“I’m excited about today and I’m excited to be an Arkansas Democrat. I’ll file for re-election and continue fighting for Arkansas every day here at home and in the United States Senate. I know that I am the target of both political extremes but that’s what makes this campaign so important to all of us. This Senate seat belongs to Arkansas, not to outside groups that are angry I don’t answer to them.”
Progressive Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter has announced that he will challenge Conservadem Sen. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) in a primary later this year.
Halter is a Democrat from the Democratic wing of the Democratic party.
As Markos pointed out in December, Lincoln, who's polls numbers were in the toilet, was ripe for a primary opponent:
This poll shows that Lincoln's obstructionism, rather than bolster her standing in Arkansas, is actually hurting her more. She has slid against the opposition, losing ground with all groups -- Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Her clumsy bungling of the health care issue stands in stark contrast with her colleague, Sen. Mark Pryor, who remains in positive favorability territory, 48-38.The Progressive Change Campaign Committee's Adam Green has posted a piece on Daily Kos about what you can do to help Halter:
If Halter runs, we'll have a barn burner of a primary, and a real opportunity for progressives to strike back against one of the biggest obstructionists in the Senate, not just on health care, but on practically every issue we care about. And given Lincoln's poor general election numbers (well below the 50 percent danger marker for incumbents), we'd likely have a better chance of holding the seat with Halter, who would be more likely to consolidate Democratic support and get them to the polls, while remaining competitive among incumbent-adverse independents.
The ball is in Halter's court.
Check out out this video produced by Max Berger from over at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) showing just how bad Sen. Lincoln is as a DEMOCRATIC Senator:
Blanche Lincoln is one of the worst corporate Democrats in Washington. She took millions from corporate interests and then joined Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson in attempting to kill the public health insurance option last year.
Bill Halter is an economic populist -- actively attacking Wall Street and insurance companies in his announcement this morning. Big corporations will absolutely attack him back.
Here are two things you can do to help Bill Halter defeat Blanche Lincoln:read more...
1) At the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), we're assembling a grassroots army -- prepared to get Halter's back when he's attacked. Click here to be part of this grassroots army.
2) The PCCC, Democracy for America, MoveOn.org, and Markos are aiming to raise $500,000 for Halter in one week -- to build his momentum. Can you chip in $5 toward Halter's campaign? UPDATE: Within a couple hours, we're past our first benchmark of $10,000 -- we're at $11,800, can you help reach $20,000?
Bonus -- Rec this diary so others have the opportunity to help Halter.
Contribute to Bill Halter
Markos just now:
These self-styled "centrists" operate at the bidding of their corporate masters, and are awash in their cash. That's who pulls the strings. And with their GOP puppets in the irrelevant minority, it was up to the Lincolns of the Democratic Party to carry their corporatist water. And they did. Eagerly.
You need someone to kill EFCA? Call Lincoln, eager to do Wal-Mart's bidding. You need someone to protect Big Oil from regulations that could limit greenhouses? Call Lincoln, who was happy to join Republicans like James Inofe to gut the EPA's ability to protect not just the environment, but the world. You need someone to carry water for the health insurance industry? Call Lincoln, who threatened several times to join filibusters of the public option, and has suddenly become distraught at the notion of using reconciliation to pass health care reform -- after she was one of just 12 Democrats to vote for the 2001 Bush tax cuts. Using reconciliation.
You want to send a message that we're done with hypocritical corporatist Democrats like Lincoln, and that we're going to now focus on taking them out in primaries? Let's take out Lincoln.