Halter ‘Continues to Listen’ to Talk of Senate Bid

Posted December 9, 2009 at 3:40pm

Arkansas Lt. Governor Bill Halter (D) has become the subject of much excitement among liberal groups who are clamoring for a primary challenger to moderate Sen. Blanche Lincoln.

That excitement was fueled Wednesday by a Washington Post report that Halter came to D.C. this week to meet with labor officials and liberal bloggers about a potential bid.

Halter declined an interview request on Wednesday but his advisor, Bud Jackson, released a statement regarding the continued Senate speculation.

“Whether home in Arkansas or on a routine trip to Washington, D.C. Lieutenant Governor Halter has been encouraged to run for the United States Senate,” Jackson said. “He appreciates the hopes that others have for him and he continues to listen and respond respectfully but he is focused on raising money for his re-election” to the lieutenant governors post.

Jackson said Halter was in Washington this week as part of his responsibilities as Chairman of the Democratic Lieutenant Governor’s Association and to attend a meeting of lieutenant governors at the Chinese Embassy.

Lincoln’s role as a key swing vote in the health care debate has made her a target of liberal groups who are worried she will buck her party leadership on reform efforts. Her concerns with the Employee Free Choice Act has also concerned labor groups. Last week the liberal blog Daily Kos commissioned a poll that included Halter as a potential candidate. Lincoln beat Halter in a hypothetical matchup but the lieutenant governor showed competitive favorability and job approval ratings.

Update: Drew Pritt, a small-business owner and self-described “Bible Belt liberal” who announced in October that he would challenge the Senator from the left in the Democratic primary, ended his long shot bid on Friday to run for lieutenant governor. Pritt launched and then abandoned a run for lieutenant governor in 2006.