Incumbent Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Lt. Gov. Bill Halter will face each other again in a June 8 runoff after neither candidate received 50 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.
Lincoln, elected to the Senate in 1998, has a powerful position as the chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. A moderate Democrat, she faced a primary challenge from her left — Halter was backed by several large labor unions and the liberal group MoveOn.org.
With nearly two-thirds of precincts reporting, the two candidates both had around 43 percent of the votes while a third candidate had about 14 percent.
The election was one of three Senate primaries across the country on Tuesday where incumbent or establishment candidates faced stiff opposition from challengers within their own party.
In a NewsHour report, Spencer Michels asked Lincoln if there was room in American politics for a moderate politician like herself.
“I think so. And I hope so, for the sake of the country,” Lincoln said. “I think that’s where most Americans are. I think most Americans want us to get results. And I think they understand that you get results by — by finding common ground.”
Halter said he would be happy with a runoff.
“If you wind up in a runoff with an incumbent Democratic senator who’s been in the Congress for 16 years,” Halter told reporters here Monday, according to the Washington Post, “it’d be hard to characterize that as anything other than a victory for us.”
You can watch Michels’ full report on the race here:
We’ll have more about this race and others Wednesday on The Rundown and on the NewsHour broadcast.