Blanche Lincoln has managed to hang onto the Democratic Party's nomination in the Arkansas U.S. Senate race tonight, in a close contest that has to be viewed as the worst possible outcome for Democrats.
Lincoln appears to have been rescued by the last minute intervention of Bill Clinton on her side, but the runoff election was very close and was marred by voting irregularities in at least one pro-Halter county.
The results of this primary race are likely to leave Lincoln more vulnerable than ever to her Republican challenger. Organized Labor and the Progressive Movement expended large amounts of cash and effort on Lincoln's challenger, Bill Halter. All that money is now gone with the wind, and along it much of the goodwill of labor and the progressives. It seems doubtful that either labor or progressives will expend much energy for Lincoln in the general election this November.
Lincoln's only hope is that somehow Bill Clinton will hoist her onto his shoulders and carry her across the finish line this November. Clinton was the margin of victory in today's contest between Arkansas Democrats, but it remains to be seen if he can make a difference in the general election.
For better or worse, this election now belongs to Bill Clinton--it is his to either win or lose.
Arkansas, like the Republican primaries in Virginia today, also represents another win for the political establishment.