Accountability Now is proud today to announce the first candidate we've recruited for the 2010 election: Arkansas Lt. Governor Bill Halter, who will challenge Blanche Lincoln for her Arkansas Senate seat.
Glenn Greenwald and I started Accountability Now in 2008 for the express purpose of recruiting primary challengers who would hold entrenched members of the DC establishment accountable for their actions. Too often incumbents have a stranglehold on their local party machines, and without hope of significant backing the candidates with the political experience to potentially defeat them do not want to risk their careers with a challenge.
We want to change that.
Blanche Lincoln stands for everything that's wrong with both parties: her primary loyalty is to her DC cohorts and her corporate donors, and she thinks it's her job to pick the taxpayer pocket on their behalf. As the head of the Agriculture Committee and a member of the Finance Committee, Lincoln has stood at the front of the line when it comes to repaying her corporate donors with political favors. She has personally been the recipient of big ag subsidies, and her continued tenure as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee would mean the death of sustainable agriculture for a generation. She's the prime target for an accountability campaign.
Some in the media will try to paint this as a "purge" of "moderates" from the Democratic party. It's not. Blanche Lincoln is a radical corporatist. That's not the "center" of anything. Conservatives and liberals alike are tired of watching Senators like Lincoln raise millions in campaign cash and vote for one bailout after another, as if there's no connection.
Accountability Now's blueprint was inspired by the successful effort to unseat Al Wynn in 2007, when a coalition of progressive groups came together to support Donna Edwards. We first brought together representatives from organizations including SEIU, DFA, Daily Kos, MoveOn, the United Steelworkers, Color of Change and Blog PAC in early 2009 to talk about recruiting primary challengers for the 2010 race.
We are delighted that those efforts to draft Bill Halter and organize institutional support for his campaign led to his decision to enter the race. We look forward to working with the groups in Accountability Now and the people of Arkansas to support him in this race and to see him sworn in as the next Senator from Arkansas.