Lincoln: I’m Not Worried About Bill Halter

Congressional Quarterly/Newscom

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) got a primary challenger this morning, but she says she’s not worried about squaring off against members of her own party ready to spend money to prevent Lincoln from being reelected.

In an interview with the AP over the weekend, Lincoln was asked about a Lt. Gov. Bill Halter — the man who progressive groups hope will defeat her in the Democratic primary — and said she wasn’t sweating the primary. Lincoln said what she called a record of being one of the Senate’s few true bipartisans will see her through to victory.Answering her progressive critics, Lincoln told the AP she’s not the only one pushing back against them on a public option and EFCA.

“It’s important to note that I’m not the only Democrat in those positions,” Lincoln told the AP. “There are other moderates, and there are moderate Republicans.”

Lincoln said her willingness to stand against national Democratic figures will give her the advantage in a primary race.

“I think I can be very clear to Arkansans, and I think they will understand, that when President Obama presents a good idea and it’s good for Arkansas I can be supportive,” Lincoln told the AP. “If it’s something that’s not good for Arkansas, not good for the people or the industries of Arkansas, it’s going to be something I’m not going to support.”

But Republicans, who Lincoln says she’s been willing to reach out to, aren’t interested in giving her bipartisan credibility. In a statement this morning, the NRSC said Halter’s entrance into the primary really means that nobody in Arkansas likes Lincoln anymore.

“Arkansans are tired of the status quo under the Obama Administration and they are looking to elect a Senator who will fight for much-needed checks and balances in Washington this November,” NRSC spokesperson Amber Marchand said. Marchand added that both Lincoln and Halter “are completely out of step with Arkansas’ mainstream values.”