by Max Brantley
Lt. Gov. Bill Halter WILL run for U.S. Senate in the Democratic primary against Blanche Lincoln. He announced via early morning e-mail, guaranteeing that he'll dominate news of the opening of election filing today, then get another round of publicity when he emerges from seclusion for the actual announcement on Tuesday.
He's for families (health care), against Washington, for "Main Street" over Wall Street.
The filing will be Tuesday. Check his website here.
Does Lincoln swerve a bit to the left for primary voters? Or continue her rightward lurch in anticipation of November? Is her war chest sufficient for a primary and general election should she prevail? Will Halter's football coach return to TV screens?
The race for lieutenant governor is now wide open. Sen. Shane Broadway, Democrat, will be among those joining the field. Jason Tolbert says Republican lobbyist/former legislator Marvin Parks might join pizzeria owner Mark Darr on the GOP side.
Many questions. I can tell you that Republicans are happy this morning. Lincoln will be forced to spend money and perhaps adopt positions useful in the fall campaign. There is a counter argument, however, that a Democratic challenge could make Lincoln stronger. Until now, polls have shown Lincoln with a lead over Halter, though none of the Republican candidates.
Details of the early morning news release:
HALTER NEWS RELEASE
Halter to Run for Senate in Arkansas – Will File Papers Tomorrow
Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter announced early this morning via an on-line video at www.BillHalter.com that Washington is broken and that he can best serve Arkansans by fighting for them in the United States Senate.
“I’m going to spend the rest of today phoning friends, family and supporters, and making a courtesy call to Senator Blanche Lincoln,” said Halter. “I look forward to joining my wife and father tomorrow morning at the state capitol where we’ll make official my campaign to put Arkansans first.”
The transcript of the video can be found below. Additionally, Halter will be available to the media tomorrow when he files papers at the capitol to officially enter the U.S. Senate race. Details on tomorrow are also listed below.
Who: Bill Halter
** Where: www.BillHalter.com **
Time: 6:00am CST
What: Bill Halter Announces Senate Bid
Note: Interviews with Halter will also be available at Tuesday’s Media Avail
"Today I'm announcing that I will run in the Democratic primary for the United States Senate. Washington is broken. It’s working for the special interests, not Arkansas families. Bailing out Wall Street with no strings attached while leaving middle class Arkansas taxpayers with the bill. Protecting insurance company profits instead of protecting patients and lowering health costs. Bickering and engaging in partisan games while unemployment is at a 25 year high. Enough is enough. It's past time to put more Arkansas values in Washington.
This is not a decision I make lightly. Serving Arkansas as your Lt. Governor for the past three years has been an incredible honor. Shanti and I have carefully considered the implications for our family and we appreciate the encouragement we have received from every corner of the state.
In the end I cannot stand by while jobs are shipped overseas, seniors are pushed to the brink and big banks and insurance companies get bailed out while Arkansans are left to pay for a mess we didn’t create.
We know it is possible to stand up for Arkansas values and Arkansas families and get things done, because we have done it right here in our state.
Our toughest fight was to establish the scholarship lottery. Most believed it couldn't be done. But I took a principled stand that Arkansas voters should decide this issue for themselves and Arkansans approved the scholarship program by almost two to one. This year alone we'll help over 20,000 Arkansas families pay for college - without raising taxes. Working in President Clinton’s budget office, I helped balance the federal budget for the first time in 40 years. As a leader of Social Security I helped fight off the Republican and Wall Street schemes to privatize it. When the legislature moved to increase their pay in these tough economic times, I gave my increase to charity.
Creating good paying jobs. Providing education and opportunity for all who work hard and play by the rules. Protecting seniors and families. Fiscal responsibility. Standing up to the special interests. These are my principles I’ve stood up for here in Arkansas — and these are the principles I’ll take to Washington."
MEDIA AVAIL FOR TOMORROW:
*BILL HALTER MAKES IT OFFICIAL*
Who: Bill Halter, his wife, Shanti and his father, William Halter, Sr.
Where: Arkansas State Capitol - Inside Rotunda
When: Tuesday, March 2nd
What: Bill Halter, joined by his family, will sign the paperwork making his announcement official.