One of the Senate’s most conservative Democrats now faces a primary challenge on her left flank. Blanche Lincoln, who betrayed the unions that had supported her and who had bitterly fought off a public option in health care reform, was already headed for a tough race.

The White House has tried to block challengers, ostensibly to strengthen Democratic incumbents going into the midterm elections. But the president’s unconditional support may have helped open the way for these conservative legislators to throw sugar in his gas tank.

As David Sirota wrote in a September 2009 column: “Without vigorous primaries forcing Democratic legislators to face Democratic voters, those legislators feel free to defy the president’s Democratic agenda.” — PZS

AP via Google:

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter announced Monday that he’s seeking the Democratic nomination for Lincoln’s seat, becoming the first in the party to formally challenge Lincoln and underscoring a schism in an election year shaping up to be difficult for the party in power.

“Washington is broken. It’s working for the special interests, not Arkansas families,” Halter said in a statement.

Eight Republicans already have announced interest in the Senate seat as Lincoln’s popularity wanes in the GOP-leaning state. She has been under has been under pressure in Washington to support President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

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