Halter and “the others”

No more excuses, so let’s get down to business. This deals with an important theme of my Monday Democrat-Gazette column. It is from the Blanche Lincoln campaign.

To: Interested Parties
From: Steve Patterson, Lincoln Campaign Manger
Date: Saturday, June 5
Re: Unions, Outside Liberal Groups Trying to Hijack Arkansas Election

Bill Halter and his D.C. Union allies have used the final days of the Arkansas Senate campaign to continue hurling negative attacks at Sen. Lincoln and resorting to the same hijinks they pulled off in the closing days of the primary election last month.

Meanwhile, Senator Lincoln has barnstormed through 20 counties thus far on her “Countdown to Victory” tour, meeting directly with voters, listening to their concerns and touting her stands against the special interests and for Arkansans.

Since early March, the national unions have spent approximately $10 million of their members’ dues in Arkansas, nearly $2.5 million on television ads in the runoff alone, attacking Senator Lincoln because she doesn’t agree with them all of the time. As President Clinton said, they want to manipulate the votes of Arkansans to help the unions send a message to other Members of Congress who are thinking about crossing them.

According to FactCheck.org, a nonpartisan monitor of political ads, the unions have played “fast and loose” with the facts.   FactCheck called one union ad “malarkey,” and said that the union “doesn’t even attempt” to back up its claim.

And in the waning days of the campaign, the unions are up to their old tricks.  Just as they did on the weekend before the primary election, the Service Employees International Union is paying canvassers to distribute a door hanger in African-American neighborhoods this weekend with a photo of Bill Halter super-imposed next to President Obama.  The union didn’t acquire permission to use the President’s image but their objective is clear: to attempt to confuse African- American voters about who the President has endorsed in the Senate campaign.  Sen. Lincoln is proud to have the legitimate endorsement of President Obama.  Another union flyer distributed on Friday falsely implies that 2nd Congressional District candidate Joyce Elliot and Halter are working together.

Millions in Spending on False Attacks

Union Groups Have Spent Nearly $2.5 Million on Television and radio ads Alone in Runoff Thus Far. After media expenditures of more than $5 million in the primary election, national unions have now spent nearly $2.5 million in the runoff election for television and radio ads attacking Sen. Lincoln, according to a statewide survey of Arkansas broadcast and cable television outlets and radio stations.  Sen. Lincoln has spent just over $700,000 on television ads.

AFSCME Pledged to Spend $1.4 to Defeat Lincoln. Less than 48 hours after the primary results were in, AFSCME pledged to spend $1.4 million to defeat Sen. Lincoln, “a massive sum in a small state…The union is sending about 50 staffers to Arkansas for the race’s last three weeks.” [Politico.com, 5/20/2010]

AFL-CIO Pledged Unlimited Resources for Halter in the Runoff. The AFL-CIO pledged to run a “very aggressive campaign against Sen. Lincoln in the runoff.  Political Director Karen Ackerman said “We are certainly ready and able to spend whatever we need to do on behalf of Halter.” [The Hill, 5/19/2010]

AFL-CIO Spent More Than $3 Million Against Lincoln In Primary Alone. “The national AFL-CIO spent $3 million or more on Halter’s behalf, spokesman Eddie Vale said.” [Washington Post, 5/19/2010]

SEIU Spent More Than $1.5 Million Against Lincoln During Primary. “SEIU, which has only 1,000 members in the state, spent more than $1.5 million, including a $1 million television buy.” In fact, “In six days, the Service Employees International Union’s Committee on Political Education spent $331,000 on phone-banking and television ads in support of Halter.” [Washington Post, 5/19/2010; The Swamp, 5/19/2010]

FactCheck.org: Labor Unions “Play Fast and Loose With Its Facts” In Attacks on Sen. Lincoln. Under the headline, “Labor Falsely Attacks Lincoln. Again.” FactCheck.org concluded that the SEIU “continues to play fast and loose with its facts” in its attacks on Sen. Lincoln.  The nonpartisan site calls another ad, from AFSCME, a “malarkey,” and when asked for evidence to back up its attacks, AFSCME “doesn’t even attempt to back up the ‘millions’ claim.” [FactCheck.org, 5/27/2010]

Lining Halter’s Campaign Coffers

California Residents Top List of Halter Donors. “California residents lead residents of all other states – including Arkansas – in individual contributions to Halter’s campaign, records compiled by the nonpartisan CQ Moneyline show.” Arkansas residents top Lincoln’s individual contributors.  In fact, according to CQ Moneyline, over three-quarters of Halter’s contributions come from outside Arkansas. [Miami Herald, 5/20/2010; CQ’s Moneyline, Accessed 6/4/2010]

MoveOn.org Has Raised Well Over Half of Halter’s Money. To date, MoveOn.org has raised over $2.1 million for the Halter campaign, according to online reports and FEC reporting.  That amounts to over 60% of his total amount raised. [Halter FEC Reports]

Running Halter’s Campaign

AFL-CIO Flooding Arkansas With Canvassers and Mailers Attacking Sen. Lincoln. “The AFl-CIO launched a get-out-the-vote effort targeting early voters on Tuesday in support of Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter’s bid to unseat Lincoln…AFL-CIO’s pamphlets portray Halter on the side of workers, while painting Lincoln as having ‘left working families behind.’ Some 90,000 of these pamphlets are being sent to Arkansas, with more to come.” [The Hill, 6/2/2010]

AFL-CIO Group Sent Paid Canvass Workers Into Arkansas on Behalf of Halter. The Washington Post reported that Working America, an AFL-CIO operation, “sent 45 paid workers a day to knock on doors” in Arkansas on behalf of Halter.  The group also “sent 1.75 million pieces of pro-Halter mail.” Working America “spent $50,000 on salaries, lodging, rental cars, and meals for campaign workers, phone center rentals and radio ads.” [Washington Post, 5/19/2010; The Swamp, 5/19/2010]

MoveOn.Org Sent Fundraising Appeal to Members From Bill Halter. On June 2, MoveOn.org sent a fundraising plea to national members of the liberal group MoveOn.org, in which he claims he is being outspent 2-to-1. [MoveOn.org email, 6/2/2010]

Halter Paying D.C. Progressive Group for Field Operation. According to his FEC Reports, Halter has paid the Progressive Change Campaign Committee nearly $20,000 for “staff time – salary and benefits.” The Hill reported that “PCCC staffers are also helping run Halter’s field operation.” [Halter FEC Reports, The Hill, 5/4/2010]

Making Blanche Lincoln a “Poster Child”

President Clinton: Outside Groups Using Arkansas Voters to Make an Example Out of Senator Lincoln. During a rally with Senator Lincoln, President Clinton said of outside forces trying to influence the Arkansas Senate race, “Her opponent is not her opponent…Her opponents are the people trying to make her this poster child…This is about using you and manipulating your votes to terrify members of Congress from other states.” [Huffington Post, 5/28/2010]

AFL-CIO: Other Incumbents Should Take Note. AFl-CIO Political Director Karen Ackerman said of the Arkansas Senate Democratic race, “We figure that it is very important to take a stand against incumbents or candidates who are not sympathetic to the needs of working people, and who have not really proven themselves to fight for the economic security of working people.” [The Hill, 5/19/2010]

AFSCME: Sending a Message With Millions Against Lincoln. After pledging to spend $1.4 million against Sen. Lincoln, AFSCME President Gerald McEntee said, the union was “sending a shot across the bow of other Democrats who may be considering doing the same thing…We want them to know we’re watching.” [Politico.com, 5/20/2010]

MoveOn.org: Race is About “Saving the Soul of the Democratic Party.” In a recent email on behalf of Bill Halter, MoveOn.org wrote, “this primary fight could be our best hope for saving the soul of the Democratic Party” and if Sen. Lincoln loses, “all the rest of them will have to sit up and take notice.” [MoveOn.org email, 5/6/2010]

SEIU: Elected Leaders Should Take Note. SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said, “…what elected leaders all around the country should note is the days of ‘business of usual’ are over.” SEIU political director Jon Youngdal said, “It’s time to send a message of accountability.” [Politico, 5/19/2010; Associated Press, 5/16/2010]

Labor Operative: This Race Will Send a Message. “The fact that Lincoln has had to fight this kind of fight, raise the money to do it … and to the extent that other senators see what’s happening in Arkansas and think twice about it, this becomes – win, lose or draw – a very important fight,” said Steve Rosenthal, former political director of the AFL-CIO. [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 5/16/2010]

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About patlynch
I am a broadcaster in Arkansas, a former freelance writer and political columnist in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Writing Coach. Speaker. Director of the Christian Foundations for Ministry program, and presently enrolled in the Anglican School of Ministry Master of Ministry program.

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