by Max Brantley
* The secretly funded independent group that beat up on any candidate that didn't oppose union card check legislation crowed about the defeat of Bill Halter and victories by those like Blanche Lincoln, Mike Ross and Chad Causey who knuckled under to corporate pressure. Said the group in a memo:
In conclusion, a massive investment on the part of union bosses, which they will not be able to duplicate in other races, resulted in a loss for Big Labor’s poster-child candidate producing a general election where both nominees will oppose the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act.
* MoveOn.org, one of the liberal groups that had pushed for Bill Halter, kept a stiff upper lip:
Blanche Lincoln's tiny margin over Bill Halter, who was virtually unknown three months ago, demonstrates the difficult battle ahead for corporate Democrats. With the economy still in peril and the worst oil disaster in U.S. history still underway, Americans deserve leaders who are willing to buck the system and stand up to corporate interests. Even though Bill Halter didn’t win tonight, Progressives won’t stop working hard to end corporate influence in Washington.
* Bill Clinton bestowed the Comeback Kid title on Blanche Lincoln in a congratulatory call and she liked it so much she employed it in her victory news release.
* DNC Chairman Tim Kane began the fall campaign:
With the primary behind them, Arkansans now have a clear choice in November: elect Sen. Lincoln, who has fought and will continue to fight tirelessly for Arkansas families, or elect a longtime special interest advocate like John Boozman.
* John Cornyn, leader of the GOP Senate campaign, fires back:
After a costly and divisive primary against Lt. Governor Bill Halter, Blanche Lincoln eked out a close victory in Arkansas tonight. Senator Lincoln survived this brutal intra-party fight by embracing her liberal positions and running to the left, but she will face an uphill battle defending her partisan record and explaining to voters why she has rubberstamped President Obama’s costly agenda in Washington instead of standing up for her constituents’ best interests.
* NOTED: Blanche Lincoln won by 10,000 votes. More than 8,000 votes of that margin came in Washington and Pulaski counties. So much for this being the year of the progressive. I guess it was after a fashion. But they came home for Blanche Lincoln. Halter was in the hunt, again, only because of support in conservative areas.
* Some hope for November: Lincoln carried predominantly black areas (see Pulaski County precinct voting, for example), but not overwhelmingly, about 3-2 at some of the biggest predominantly black boxes in Little Rock. John Boozman won't run so well in November.
PS — The Nation finds a learning experience, rather than a crushing defeat for progressives, in Halter's loss.