Despite an ever-strengthening primary challenge from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) still has plenty of powerful friends in Washington. But after today, Lincoln can’t count EMILY’s List, one of the strongest support networks for pro-choice women candidates in the country, among her allies.
In a strongly-worded rebuke of Lincoln on the the group’s blog this morning, EMILY’s List chair Ellen Malcolm rejected the woman whom her group once counted among its rising stars.
“Since she wasn’t there for us,” Malcom wrote, “we won’t be there for her.”EMILY’s list supported Lincoln in 1998, when she first won her seat in the Senate. But this time, Malcolm says she has a very different response when asked what EMILY’s List will do to help Lincoln win.
“My answer? Nothing,” Malcolm writes.
The split with EMILY’s list first came came in 1999, when Lincoln voted in favor of a late-term abortion ban. Malcom says Lincoln had told EMILY’s list supporters she was opposed to the measure, which was among the reasons she received support from the organization in the first place.
“She took our members’ hard-earned money to get elected. Unfortunately, when the Santorum bill came up for a vote, Lincoln voted for it even though it provided no exception to protect women’s health.”
Malcolm writes that this time around, Lincoln’s on her own as far as EMILY’s list is concerned.
“Blanche Lincoln failed to hold up her end of the bargain,” Malcolm writes.
The Lincoln campaign rejected the suggestion that the Senator is anything but pro-choice. Lincoln received a 100% rating in 2009, far higher than her Arkansas Senate colleague Mark Pryor (D), who received only a 55% rating.
The Lincoln campaign contends that Malcolm’s position on Lincoln is an example of politics gone awry.
“Unfortunately, this is another example of where Washington has gone off the tracks. Too many groups define the debate as ‘you’re either with us or you’re against us,'” campaign spokesperson Katie Laning Niebaum told me. “On the single issue of late term abortions referred to by the former President of Emily’s List, Senator Lincoln’s position is supported by more than 80 percent of Arkansans. While Emily’s List is a powerful and respected national organization, Senator Lincoln answers to Arkansas first.”