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Halter, Running Against Lincoln, Touches A Nerve With Progressive Donors

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Only one day after declaring he will challenge conservative Democrat Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas's Democratic Senate primary, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter is raking in an incredible amount of money from outside groups supportive of his candidacy.

On Monday, executives with AFL-CIO voted to not only endorse Halter but also to commit $3 million in an independent expenditure campaign to help him unseat Lincoln, according to an official with the union group.

Halter also has received roughly $620,000 from MoveOn.org, which initially set a fundraising goal of half-a-million dollars, only to up the number to a full million as the money flowed in.

Additionally, he has raised more than $129,000 from more than 5,000 supporters through the online fundraising site ActBlue, with groups including Accountability Now and mega-bloggers like Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos pledging to drive even more support his way.

The deluge of campaign funds is a reflection of just how dissatisfied the progressive base and labor community is with Lincoln, who has played the role of policy spoiler on issues such as health care to the Employee Free Choice Act.

Halter is a blank political slate to many Democratic officials in D.C., despite having served in the Clinton administration and the Arkansas executive branch. But he has one thing going for him: he's not Lincoln.

Asked whether all the financial support from out-of-state sources would sour Arkansas voters, one tuned-in strategist who has worked in that state noted that a lot of Lincoln's donations come from more offensive sources, including "insurance companies and corporations."

"I think Arkansas Democrats are just relieved that there is a real Democrat in the race - and one who can win in November and keep the seat in the Democratic aisle," the strategists added.

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