Democrats Face Uphill Battle in Arkansas

Trailing by 25 to 38 points, sitting Senator Arkansas Blanche Lincoln looks like a sitting duck for Republicans in the next election

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Alex Wong / Getty Images

U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) (R) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) (L) arrive for a news conference December 4, 2009 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Sen. Lincoln held a news conference to discuss her amendment to the Health Care Reform Bill.

Blanche Lincoln's brutal Arkansas-primary fight was the talk of Washington this spring, as Democrats watched while a union-funded challenge by liberal Lieut. Governor Bill Halter nearly took down a sitting Senator who had infuriated the left with her party-bucking record. But Bill Clinton rode to her rescue with a big endorsement, and Lincoln fended off Halter — barely — back in June.

Now Lincoln is trailing her Republican challenger, Representative John Boozman, by anywhere from 25 to 38 points in polls, and Democrats don't see a credible comeback scenario in a state where President Obama is deeply unpopular.

There are some bright spots for Lincoln: she has a far fatter war chest than Boozman and just began her television ad campaign. She showed more grit and fight in the primary than many expected. And Clinton, who invented the Arkansas comeback, is sure to take the fight personally.

Boozman's stinging attacks on Lincoln as a left-wing Obamacare supporter have taken their toll. Meanwhile, the White House is under fire for seeking $1.5 billion in disaster relief for farmers in Arkansas and neighboring states — a move critics say would amount to a taxpayer-funded subsidy for Lincoln's campaign. The election forecaster Nate Silver says Lincoln has a better chance of winning in November than the Democrats' strange and accidental nominee in South Carolina, Alvin Greene — "[but] only slightly." Ouch.