It would appear to be official -- $20,000 or so of fund-raising and, I suppose, word from on High, has encouraged Jim Holt, the former state senator and two-time loser at statewide races, to enter the crowded Republican primary race for U.S. Senate to oppose incumbent Democrat Blanche Lincoln.
Holt got 44 percent on no money against Lincoln six years ago. He hasn't gotten any more normal since then, but it's possible that the electorate has moved to his edge of the zany meter, particularly in the Republican primary. We shall see. He spins his losing race for lieutenant governor four years ago as a ticket-leading performance by a statewide Republican candidate. Yes, but ... consider the field.
HOLT NEWS RELEASE
SPRINGDALE, Arkansas — Former State Senator Jim Holt, who led the GOP ticket in the 2006 statewide elections, will announce his candidacy in the 2010 U.S. Senate race at a series of events to be held January 14th.
Senator Holt will be flown to five campaign kick-off events in Little Rock, Texarkana, Jonesboro, Ft. Smith and Springdale.
Holt says that this election is about bringing the nation back from the brink. “Our government needs serious reform, and it needed it yesterday,” said Holt. “Unfortunately, Arkansas' senator has been busy contributing to the nation's problems,” said Holt, who cited incumbent Blanche Lincoln's cloture vote on the ‘Health Care Reform Bill' as a recent example. “She essentially told the people of Arkansas that our opinion meant absolutely nothing, and it wasn't the first time,” he added.
Senator Holt summed up the sentiment of voters statewide: “I don't think the people of Arkansas want to continue having a senator who is the tipping vote for socialist agendas. Rather, they want leaders who heed our Constitution and the various restraints which exist to prevent such agendas.”
Jason Sheppard, the Holt for Senate campaign's manager, said that the response to a prospective Holt candidacy has been nearly overwhelming. “We've clearly been given our orders: we've got a job to do,” said Sheppard, noting that the campaign received more donations in a set of fundraising events held last week than was raised in either of their primary campaigns in 2004 and 2006. “Both of which Jim won against multiple candidates without even a runoff,” Sheppard pointed out. “The number of hands-on supporters active in this campaign has also been impressive,” Sheppard added. “Things are looking very good for our team.”
Sheppard noted the difference between this election and the Holt/Lincoln election of 2004, which he also managed. “As a campaign, we're in a much, much more enviable position than we were in 2004. As a country, unfortunately, we're in much worse shape,” Sheppard said. “'We were largely unknown then, and many key people wrote the race off because of that combined with Lincoln's then inexplicable popularity. Both these factors have changed,” he added. “Inside and outside the state, the Holt team is blessed with a strong network of supporters who are eager to see a return to Constitutionally-limited government,” said Sheppard. “And Senator Lincoln continues to anger just about every category of voter in this state.”