U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas overcame the anti-incumbent mood among many voters and won the Democratic nomination for a third term in Washington, according to the Associated Press.
Lincoln beat Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter in a runoff held today after neither garnered at least 50 percent of the vote in a May 18 primary that included a third candidate. With 82 percent of the precincts reporting, Lincoln had 52 percent of the vote to 48 percent for Halter, the AP said.
Lincoln, 49, highlighted to voters her power as chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee and touted a provision she added to pending financial-industry overhaul legislation to force commercial banks to wall off their swaps-trading desks. She also had former President Bill Clinton, Arkansas’s governor before he won the White House, campaign for her.
Halter, also 49, blasted Lincoln for voting against the final version of President Barack Obama’s health-care bill. Halter’s allies in organized labor attacked Lincoln for opposing a measure to ease union-organizing requirements and for voting against union lawyer Craig Becker’s nomination to the National Labor Relations Board.
“You see the center-left tension” within the Democratic Party playing out in the Lincoln-Halter race, Julian Zelizer, a history and public policy professor at Princeton University in New Jersey, said before today’s vote.
In November’s general election, Lincoln will face U.S. Representative John Boozman, 59, the winner of last month’s Republican primary.
Lincoln first won her seat in 1998 and was re-elected in 2004 with 56 percent of the vote.