The Campaign Spot

Looking Beyond Blanche in Arkansas . . .

The filing deadline for federal candidates in Arkansas is today.

Obviously, the big race is the Senate race, where Blanche Lincoln, if she survives her primary against Bill Halter, will most likely face either U.S. Rep. John Boozman or state senator Gilbert Baker in the general election.

(As mentioned at the end of this piece, I think Lincoln will survive the primary. To have a successful primary challenge, it helps to have a significant chunk of primary voters motivated by an ideological reason to knock off the incumbent (think Specter) coupled with some major personality or charisma issue (think . . . er, again, Specter). Halter might be able to say to Arkansas primary voters, ’Hey, don’t you like the job I’ve done more than what she’s done?’ but there don’t appear to be enough liberals in the ranks of Arkansas Democrats. If there were, he would be loudly campaigning on the public option and card check, touting the endorsements of Daily Kos and MoveOn.org, etc.)

As for House elections, seven Democrats and two Republicans (Eric Crawford and Princella Smith) are running in the 1st district, where Democrat Marion Berry is retiring. This is a district that McCain carried, 59 percent to 38 percent.
Five Democrats are running in the 2nd district, where two Republicans, Tim Griffin and Scott Wallace, are running. This is a district McCain carried, 54 percent to 44 percent.
Seven Republicans are running in the 3rd district, which is represented by John Boozman, who now running for Senate. One poorly funded Democrat, David Whitaker, is ensuring the seat is contested in November. McCain carried this district 64 percent to 34 percent.
And in the 4th district, three Republicans are running against Rep. Mike Ross, well known as the leader of the Blue Dogs and one of the iffiest Democrats on health care. He voted “no” last time. The three Republicans are Glenn Gallas, Beth Anne Rankin, and Marc Rosson. Ross has some reason to sweat, as McCain carried his district 58 percent to 39 percent; however, Ross has been reelected easily since winning his seat in 2000; he faced no GOP opposition in 2004 and 2008.