In a new interview with The Hill, Sen. Blanche Lincoln — facing a tough Democratic primary challenge funded by national progressives on Tuesday — called out her opponents on the Democratic left wing. Lincoln said she is facing criticism from a political movement that she suggested is divorced from the political reality.
“Just like the far right, I think the far left also believes that you’ve got to be with them 100 percent of the time or you don’t meet the test,” Lincoln told the paper. “I don’t think there’s anybody that you’re going to be with 100 percent of the time — not and be true to your constituency. My first commitment here is to Arkansas.”
National progressive groups and organized labor have backed Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in the primary, funneling millions of dollars to Arkansas to support him. Their anger at LincoIn, they say, comes in response to her opposition to new labor organizing rules, EPA regulation of greenhouse gasses and the inclusion of a public option in health care reform efforts.
Polls show Lincoln with a sizable lead heading into the final weekend of the primary, which kicked off on March 1 when Halter entered the race. But the latest polls also suggest the race could be headed for a run-off, with neither of the top two candidates drawing 50% of the vote. A conservative-leaning libertarian Democrat, D.C. Morrison, is drawing between 6-10% of the vote in polls of the three-way race.
Should Lincoln not get her party’s nomination at the end of the primary process, she told The Hill she won’t follow the path of other deposed incumbents like Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) or Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT), who is said to be considering a write-in bid after losing his party’s nomination last week.
“Oh Lord, no. Never. I’m a Democrat. Win or lose, I’ll be a Democrat,” she told the newspaper.