by Max Brantley
Today the primaries end. Nationally, California is drawing more attention than Arkansas.
What's to say? I'll try to think of something on an appearance on The Ed Show on MSNBC this afternoon. It will likely be that the Democratic Senate runoff will be some test of the value of vigorous door-to-door canvassing and incessant phone calling. Bill Halter has enjoyed that. The power of the incumbency — voter familiarity, a larger campaign treasury and the power to dispense federal favors at election time — will also be measured by Sen. Blanche Lincoln's performance.
It is only anecdotal, but I continue to hear from traditional Democratic voters disgruntled by Lincoln's record who are inclined to believe that Halter — as an outsider of sorts — constitutes the best Democratic hope for fall. But they remain reluctant on account of simple personal chemistry to switch from Lincoln to Halter. Lincoln's increasingly shrill attacks on Halter's support by organized labor would suggest disheartening polling for her side, just as it does for Robbie Wills' Republican-style attacks on leader Joyce Elliott in the Democratic runoff for 2nd District Congress. It hardly seems a position of strength to believe the reactionary redneck voter is the key to victory in, not just a Democratic primary, but a runoff primary.