Senate 2010: Blanche Lincoln Vs. ??????????

From left: Bill Halter, Tim Griffin, Kim Hendren, Blanche Lincoln, French Hill, Gilbert Baker and Kurtis Blow, because I don't have a photo of Curtis Coleman.

With all the recent developments in the 2010 Senate race, here’s a handy chart for you to use to keep track of who’s who.

U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, a two-term Democratic incumbent, announced in March that she would run for a third term, and oh, by the way, she just happened to have $2.3 million sitting around that would be just perfect for the purpose.

(If you’re reading this outside Arkansas, that may not sound like a lot of dough, but it is, because the state has relatively few media markets. In the last big statewide race in 2006, Mike Beebe raised $6.5 million total in a race that cost a total $10 million—the most expensive in state history at the time. Lincoln has a third of Beebe’s total on hand with a year and a half to go.)

Still, there’s a perception that Lincoln is “vulnerable” or “in trouble,” a meme that we’ve chronicled here in recent weeks. Last month, a telephone survey from Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling in North Carolina reported back some soft numbers for Lincoln, feeding in to the perception of vulnerability.

At this early point, several Republicans have indicated that they’re considering getting into the race:

Kim Hendren, state senator from Bella Vista

Hendren announced his intention to challenge Lincoln on April 18. Hendren is a businessman and longtime state legislator with deep pockets. He also has family ties to the Hutchinson clan (brother-in-law to Tim and Asa). Sources close to Hendren say he’ll run a “populist campaign” with a strong focus on federal fiscal responsibility. He pledges to serve only one term if elected.

Max Brantley at the Arkansas Times has more here, noting Hendren’s conservative but sometimes unorthodox stances on issues.

Reporter Doug Thompson declines to predict Hendren’s chances, but he thinks Hendren’s addition to the mix will make for some dandy fireworks.

Blake Rutherford of Blake’s Think Tank, who chest-thumpingly declared Lincoln “unbeatable” last month, is unimpressed: “Bleh.”

Gilbert Baker, state senator from Conway and former chair of the Arkansas GOP

Baker, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, is a solid conservative who is the subject of a “Draft Gilbert” campaign spearheaded by blogger Rett Hatcher.

Brantley and a Twittering David Sanders both forecast that with Hendren in, Baker will announce soon that he’s out, but Baker tells blogger Jason Tolbert, “Don’t rush me!”

Tim Griffin, attorney, political consultant and former U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of Arkansas

After announcing he was thinking about running on Twitter, Griffin’s been making the rounds the last several months, energetically hitting every room in the state where more than five Republicans may happen to be gathered at any time.

Arkansas Project commenter Hunter and a Twittering Elizabeth Aymond of the Arkansas Young Republicans suggest that, if Griffin’s activity and demeanor at this weekend’s College Republicans conference was any indication, he’s likely to be jumping in soon. Griffin has said he’ll announce his intent by June 1.

Three others:

French Hill, CEO of Delta Bank and former Treasury official in the first Bush administration

Hill’s name has been floated for some time and he’s said to have visited Washington D.C. to talk to party honchos about a potential run, but if he’s making any preparations to run, it’s all behind the scenes.

Scott Ford, former Alltel CEO

This is another name that’s been mentioned but again, if he’s considering it, it’s thus far been behind the scenes.

Curtis Coleman, a Little Rock businessman and compatriot of former Gov. Mike Huckabee

Brantley keeps floating his name, so I include him here. Also, I don’t know what he looks like or have a photo of him, so we’re using that photo of ’80s superstar rapper Kurtis Blow as a placeholder.


Who’s handicapping the race? Roby Brock at Talk Business, that’s who. Go over here to read an assessment (link is now fixed) of each GOP hopeful’s strengths and weaknesses.

Also, let’s not forget Lincoln’s recent announcement that she will not support union-backed card check legislation in the Senate. That move breathed new life into rumors that she might face a labor-backed primary challenge from the left (a scenario I find highly unlikely). And the name that’s frequently invoked as a possible primary challenger is Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. Tolbert’s been keeping a close eye on this one, though Halter continues to say he has no such intentions. (The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Kane Webb asked Halter point blank, but he feigned exasperation and didn’t answer the question—see end of interview.)

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10 thoughts on “Senate 2010: Blanche Lincoln Vs. ??????????

  • April 20, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Thanks for the summary and “update.” It may be useful to see the R’s have a real primary. Unfortunately, there is not that much “political talent” in this State on the R side, so some folks are simply going to have less than optimal staff support.

    I’ve got my popcorn. I’m ready for a rumble. But I hope some of the folks you mention consider some of the other seats up in 2010. R’s have some opportunity, if they are up to taking it.

    The guy or gal who runs as the “Washington insider” (no offense TG – or anyone else), or the one with “Washington connections” may be the one who goes down hardest, though. Not so much that a Washington connection is bad, but because the candidate who insists on advertising that fact has too much hubris to win a general.

    Great summary, Kincade.

  • April 20, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    I have been hesitant, for reasons which will become obvious as you read this, to bring forward this hypothesis. However, I think I may be onto something, so here goes.

    I believe the next name to be “tossed” into the ring as a candidate for the R ticket against Blank Lincoln is none other than David Kincade, MR. ARPro himself.

    Now wait, before you begin to argue, listen to my supporting data.
    1) Dems especially, but many folks these days love to hear what the celebrities in life have to say about things political.
    2) This Sarah Boyle lady has become a celebrity in her own right, supposedly discovered on the Simon Cowell program in Britian and now being feted across the US.
    3) Have you actually seen a photo of this Sarah Boyle? Drudge is a shot of her. It is uncanny the resemblence between Sarah Boyle and David Kincade.
    Therefore, I believe we will soon have witnesss the following:
    a) Sarah Boyle is really David Kincade in drag.
    b) The Sarah Boyle/David Kincade will elevate the David Kincade name in Arkansas, even nationally, to the point he has greater name recognition than Blank Lincoln.
    c) David Kincade will enter and win the Republican primary and then proceed to clean Ms. Lincoln’s clock.
    d) Conservative Arkansans will demand David do right by Ms. APG, resulting in nuptials sometime in June of 2010.
    e) Following a stunning victory by Mr. Kincade, the now Mrs. APW will demand the new family move to Germantown, TN. In this part of the story, there will be little to no difference in the stories of Kincade and Lincoln.
    f) Mr. Kincade will serve 2 terms in the US Senate and then decline to run for a third term, electing instead to pursue his interrupted singing career, reviving the nom de vocale Sarah Boyle, and finally bringing this incredible saga to a close.

    Boy, I had too much time on my hands this morning.

  • April 20, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Too bad I didn’t have time to run spell check…

  • April 20, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Tom Cotton is THE ONE. He is who we need to run against Lincoln. He is the one who could win. I’m telling you right now, forget these other guys who have been around in the same political circles for a long time now. There’s not one good reason he shouldn’t be our candidate and not one good reason we (the republican party) shouldn’t be begging him to run.

    TOM COTTON 2010!!!

  • April 20, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Tom Cotton is a compelling candidate. Is he back in the country now? His life story is one of great success and sacrifice for his country.

  • April 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Don’t you think your hero Lamoreaux should run?

  • April 21, 2009 at 3:05 am

    Hands down it’s Rep Boozman. Proven conservative track record and voting record. Arkansas needs fresh idea’s instead of the normal “HOW DEEP CAN I GET INTO YOUR BUSINESS” mentality.

    I’ve never seen a state that taxes everything you have 20 times like this state. That’s because this state loves Democrats so much. You name the Unconstitutional tax and Arkansas has it. “TIME FOR A BIG CHANGE HERE”!

  • April 21, 2009 at 8:47 am

    It would be a shame if Arkansas turned into Taxachusetts. That higher income/education/quality of life thing is so overrated, especially when we have the comfort of leading the nation in benefits like early death, teenage pregnancy and divorce.

    Blanche is no Dem, and that’s why she holds onto that seat. As a Democrat, I’d almost root for a Republican to knock her off, she’s so bad. When your entire political capital is based on a huge tax break for the spoiled little rich progeny of a couple dozen wealthy people, you can’t call yourself a U.S. Senator. Or shouldn’t be able to.

    And for good measure, let’s take a stand against those evil unions, who have the balls to get laid off in this economy. Where oh where are we going to get those million dollar bonuses for our Godsent capitalists? If I buy a stock on Tuesday and sell it on Wednesday on anticipation of earnings, my rights come well before those of some peasant who has the stupidity to actually work there for a couple of decades.

  • April 22, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Joe, you appear to be torn between fact and fantacy. As a Union man from Illinois for over 25 years I can tell you straight up that the Unions have only 1 person in mind. Thats the Union CEO’S and noone else Joe.

    There is no difference between Union CEO’S and Corporate CEO’S. The only question is which one is using YOU the worst? Blanch Lincoln is no Republican, she’s a Socialist Democrat period. Just like the rest of the Arkansas delegation of Democrats.

    It’s wake up time folks!


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