Posted by Michael Oxenrider | Posted in News | Posted on 08-06-2010
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Does the Democratic Party have its own version of the Tea Party in the Progressive movement? In a bizaaro-world version of Rand Paul’s victory in Kentucky or Bob Bennett’s Tea Party inspired loss, Progressives have been gathering momentum around Progressive candidate Bill Halter and against moderate incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln. Despite support from President Obama and former President Bill Clinton, Halter forced a runoff in the primary.
There was no verified Blanche Lincoln Twitter account at the time of this post.
Over $10 million has been spent on campaigning. Some feel the resources spent and the attack ads will only do damade to the winner’s chances in the general election. Republican Congressman John Boozman currently leads in polling over either winner. Republican Chair Michael Steele thought the “intraparty civil war” would only help Boozman.
Some Republicans are again trying a strategy, much like the famous “Operation Chaos” in the 2008 Presidential Primary, and are making no bones about trying to rig the race in their favor.
This race may have as much of a symbolic impact future ideological direction of the Democratic party as the Rand Paul Kentucky victory did for the Republican party.
However, even if the Progressive candidate were to unseat the incumbent, the message it would send may still be murky.
Is it a signal that voters are displaying their anger at Washington party politics and voting for anti-establishment candidates? Keep in mind that Halter is the Lt. Governor of Arkansas, which isn’t exactly a huge leap. Rand Paul on the other hand, despite having little to no political experience to boost his anti-establishment credentials, in all likelihood benefited from patronage. The Rands could just as easily be the Tea Party’s answer to the Kennedys.
Is it that voters are becoming less interested in moderate ideals or is it that it is simply easier to generate more of a buzz around idealism than it is around moderation and compromise?
As the evening progressed it proved to be a pretty close race. With about 50% of precincts reporting it was well within the margin of error.
At the end of the day, the forces of incumbency and powerful friends in current President Obama and former President Bill Clinton were too much for Halter to overcome. Blanche Lincoln won with 52% of the vote.
Lincoln was moved further to the left on financial reform by Halter’s campaign and now claims she “gets” why there was an anti-incumbent surge.