Sen. Blanche Lincoln, who claimed she could not attend President Bush’s economic roundtable in Little Rock last Monday nor meet with the President due to scheduling conflicts, was actually in the Little Rock area and was in fact planning fundraisers for her re-election campaign. The big draw for her? The Dixie Chicks, who’ll be performing at her fundraiser later this month.
Lincoln, whom the White House has targeted as a potential swing vote for the president’s tax cut plan, has been avoiding entreaties from the White House and from Republicans in the Senate.
“The Dixie Chicks thing was in the works long before they insulted the president,” says a Lincoln Senate staffer. “They’re popular in Arkansas, and are big fans of the senator.”
Republicans in Arkansas are looking forward to using Lincoln’s Dixie Chicks connection in the coming campaign.
A SPECTER OF DUST
Democrats are having difficulty recruiting a competitive candidate for the Democratic Senate primary in Pennsylvania. While Sen. Arlen Specter has announced he will run for re-election and Club for Growth Stephen Moore has recruited opposition in the Republican primary, Democrats are still scrambling for a candidate of their own.
This week emissaries of Gov. Ed Rendell met with Philadelphia 76ers general manager B>Billy King, a prominent African American in the city and a former Duke University basketball star. King was noncommital, although he expressed interest and said there would be further discussions, according to a Pennsylvania Democratic Party fundraiser,
“We’re running out of options, and that has forced us to think outside the box,” said the state party source. “The one advantage that we do have here is that Specter is going to have to run a serious primary campaign, and even if he wins we think he’ll be weakened.”
Specter is walking a fine line in the Senate. While he’s been comfortable compiling a moderate to liberal voting record, he now finds himself trying to endear himself to the conservative communities in northern and western Pennsylvania. Those are areas where junior Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has run strongest.
Specter’s desperation has forced him to offer the White House assistance in getting the president’s judicial nominees, currently in limbo, moving again. In return, Specter hopes the White House won’t stay neutral in his primary run.