Democratic Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln neither won nor lost
Tuesday's primary battle against Lt. Governor Bill
Halter, who ran to Lincoln's left, and D.
, who ran to her right. Lincoln now faces a runoff
election against Halter, scheduled for June 8. A moderate Democrat,
Lincoln split with her party during key votes on health care reform but
has been highly involved in pushing for financial regulatory reform.
Here's why she's facing a runoff, what it means, and what's next for
- White House vs. Organized Labor The Washington
Post's Dan Balz and Chris
Cillizza call this race "in many ways a proxy war between organized
labor and the White House. Obama endorsed Lincoln and appeared in ads
for her. But unions spent millions on television and radio ads -- not to
mention an extensive field program -- to oust the incumbent, whom they
believe has been insufficiently loyal on issues such as health care and
the Employee Free Choice Act."
- Why Halter Did So Well
Politico's David Catanese observes,
Halter's near-tie "is a win for groups like the Service Employees
International Union (SEIU) and MoveOn.org that poured millions of
dollars and thousands of hours into his insurgent bid and represents
another striking rejection of incumbency. ... Halter's campaign
initially grew out of anger about Lincoln's opposition to so-called
'card check' legislation that would make it easier for unions to
organize and her strong aversion to the public option during the health
care debate. But as the campaign progressed, the former Social Security
administrator took a more populist tact, turning the campaign into a
referendum on Lincoln's time in Washington and her ties to special
- 'Remarkable' That She Didn't Lose Slate's John Dickerson writes, "Blance Lincoln held on to win, which
was a remarkable achievement given that she was considered finished a
few months ago. But it may be only a temporary reprieve. Labor unions
are going to continue working against her. They've had a very good
night, securing the victory in Pennsylvania's 12th district and nearly
defeating a powerful incumbent in Arkansas."
- Runoff Will Be
About Attracting Conservatives The Washington Post's Peter Slevin explains, "As
the two Democrats pivot toward a runoff sure to be as intense as the
race so far, they will be searching for ways to attract the 42,000
voters who cast ballots for Morrison, a conservative Little Rock
businessman whose policy prescriptions include sealing the Mexican
border and passing a national sales tax."
- Why It Probably Doesn't Matter National Journal's Charlie Cook predicts a Republican win either way. "Lincoln is getting hammered by Democrats for
not being sufficiently liberal or supportive of labor. The victor of a
runoff is anyone's guess. But odds of this seat staying Democratic are
- Could This Affect Financial Reform?
Talking Points Memo's Brian Beutler writes, "A
runoff election in Arkansas means Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), who
didn't prevail in her primary Tuesday, stands to suffer if Democrats
weaken her section of the bill, which would impose strict regulations on
derivative trading, and, most controversially, would require financial
institutions to spin their derivatives trading desks off into separate
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