I’ll be on ABC’s Top Line today at noon ET to discuss Bill Halter’s primary challenge to Lincoln
One of Bill Halter’s big trepidations about running a primary challenge to Blanche Lincoln had to do with her fundraising advantage. Her latest fundraising reports indicate that she has raised $5.5 million, and she has $5.02 million cash on hand.
Two days after his announcement, Halter has nearly matched her haul. Per a press conference with AFSCME’s Gerry McEntee, the unions have committed $4 million to outside expenditures: $1 million each from AFSCME, CWA, SEIU and the Steelworkers. Between MoveOn and the ActBlue fundraising activities of Daily Kos, Accountability Now, DFA, the PCCC and others, there have been $1.16 million in small-dollar online donations made.
As an organization devoted to recruiting primary challengers, the biggest conundrum that Accountability Now has faced is the fact that viable candidates often don’t want to risk existing political careers unless they know that there will be enough financial support to allow them to be competitive. So our ability to get all the groups together that could potentially pull something like this off, introduce them to the candidate, evaluate the race and determine what it would realistically take to win was crucial. No one group can do it alone, and without that kind of early organizing, you’re stuck with the “beautiful losers” who are often passionate and well-intentioned but simply don’t have the skill or the local credibility to mount a serious challenge.
As I said on Ed Schultz last night, I don’t know if Bill Halter can win in Arkansas. But I believe he stands a much better chance than corporatist Blanche Lincoln, who stands for everything populist activists on both sides of the aisle are railing against right now. Her donor list is loaded down with the lobbyists, banks and Big Ag companies she has sold her vote to.
Blanche Lincoln is not in the “center” of anything but K Street, and most of her money will have to be spent making people forget where it came from.
Obama, Rahm and the DSCC will do everything they can to make sure Lincoln stays in office. It’s going to be an ugly 2 months until the primary, but because liberal interest groups stormed out of the veal pen and marshaled their resources, at least Halter has a fighting chance.