Might Lt. Gov. Bill Halter drop his bid for re-election to challenge U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the Democratic primary? There'll never be a better time to run on his state lottery achievement.
Wrote the Washington Post columnist Chris Cillizza today:
Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (D) is contemplating a primary challenge to Sen. Blanche Lincoln in 2010, according to Fix sources in the Razorback State. Halter, who was elected as Gov. Mike Beebe's (D) ticketmate in 2006, would try to capitalize on the left's discontent toward Lincoln on health care but is a somewhat odd liberal champion, said one Democratic who closely follows Arkansas politics. But, national Democrats caution that although Halter's ambition is well known in the state, he regularly considers races only to step aside. Polling suggests Lincoln is in for a serious general election race in 2010 with state Sen. Gilbert Baker seen as the strongest Republican candidate.
(Beebe's ticket mate? Odd formulation, that.) Well.
UPDATE: A response from Mr. Halter through Garry Hoffmann: "The Lieutenant Governor appreciates the potential plans that others have for him. He continues to raise money for re-election."
The rumors are rampant about this race on account of 1) Lincoln's perceived weakness and 2) the desultory Republican field. I put the talk down mostly to lack of better things to do, but if it's rumors you want, here are some being bandied about, all worth what you're paying for them, not counting electricity for your computer:
* National Dems worried about holding the seat are encouraging Gov. Beebe to run. (He's not, his spokesman says.)
* Retired Wal-Mart jillionaire Donald Soderquist is considering a Republican race. (Why a private Walmartian would subject himself to the slings and arrows of a political race, I don't know.)
* Stanley Reed, East Arkansas farmer, former UA trustee and Jim Lindsey's main man, might be on again after an on- and off-flirtation with running as a Republican. He'd cut into Lincoln's farm base, of course.
* Jim Holt is still having a little talk with Jesus about it..
* Mike Huckabee. What if Fox didn't renew him (but I think they did) and he needed a little work? He'd wax Lincoln, right? But it would mean a pay cut and far less air time.