It really has been a study in contrasts the past couple of days for the campaigns of Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas) and her Democratic primary opponent Bill Halter. While Halter's roll-out has drawn effusive praise and unprecedented financial support the strain on Lincoln already appears to be showing the moment she filed her candidacy. From Arkansas Business:
U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., officially filed for re-election as a vocal group of 75-100 protesters chanted "bye-bye Blanche" and held up signs with messages claiming she is part of "big government."
The filing period runs March 1-8, and candidates for state and federal office began the filing process at noon. The state Secretary of State's office is tweeting updated filings in real time. Follow the updates here.
Lincoln's appearance around 1:30 p.m. sent what was already a packed second-floor rotunda into a frenzy. She has already drawn a large field of Republicans seeking their party's nomination to face her in the general election. And early Monday, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter announced he would file Tuesday to challenge Lincoln in the Democratic primary.
At the filing on Monday, one Lincoln protester maneuvered her way through the throng to appear before Lincoln as she filled out paperwork. Lincoln looked up and smiled, receiving a round of "bye-bye Blanche" chants.
And from Lance Turner, internet director of Arkansas Business:
Bill Halter’s Having the Best Week Ever. And It’s Only Tuesday
Not to be overly effusive or anything, but damned if the first going-on-48-hours of Bill Halter’s U.S. Senate candidacy hasn’t been downright flawless.
Let’s consider the two solid days of media coverage he’s getting. Let’s consider that slick TV ad he unveils tonight. Let’s marvel at how he spends 15 minutes with the press saying everything and yet nothing about Health Care, Card Check and Cap-n-Trade. See him score the easy points of the day.
Watch as the Lt. Governor nobly completes his filing form in the stone-quiet Capitol Rotunda today, unfettered by crowds — a mere 24 hours after that damnable knot of sweaty politicos, camera lights, dirty bloggers and rowdy voters besieged incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s march to the starting gate.
Blanche! Who last night on the local news looked as if she was giving the weather report in a hurricane.
And now, millions of dollars (reportedly) pouring into Halter’s coffers. His TV ads — airing unanswered by the incumbent — start tonight. The smiling Halter, on the 50 yard line, planning a quarterback sneak while his coach barks encouragement all folksy-like from sidelines.
And our last televised image of Lincoln, hunkered over an awkward card table in the corner of Capitol, filing paperwork amid the echos. “Bye-bye Blanche! Bye-bye Blanche!”
A study in contrasts.
Meanwhile a further study in contrasts on the money coming in to the race. Via arkansasmatters.com:
Lt. Governor Bill Halter filed for the race of U.S. Senate at the State Capitol on Tuesday.
Minutes after filing, he told reporters that more than 20-thousand people have contributed to his campaign.
Halter said the average donation was 23-dollars.
The labor union AFL-CIO says it will contribute more than 3-million dollars to talk to voters about Bill Halter. The group MoveOn.org says it has collected more than 600-thousand dollars from individual donors.
Sen. Blanche Lincoln sent out a statement saying, "When groups from outside of our state, such as MoveOn and national labor unions based in Washington DC, are actively raising money for Bill Halter, one can only wonder who he's accountable to."
Nevermind that Lincoln's average contribution has been $1510, she has to attack the bloggers and the "outside interests" as somehow against the will of the people of Arkansas. Comedic really.