This was a kind of indecisive result with neither Blanche Lincoln nor Bill Halter securing a majority. Arkansas is apparently one of those states where you can’t win a primary with a plurality, so there’ll be a runoff. The third entrant in the race was running to Lincoln’s right and Halter was running to her left, so in principle she still has a good chance of keeping this together. Realistically, though, an incumbent who can’t get to 50 percent is in trouble so Halter may well win this.
In a lot of ways, irrespective of the result Halter’s challenge has already had its biggest effects. On the one hand, the Halter-era version of Blanche Lincoln has been much more progressive than the pre-Halter version, especially on the key derivatives issue. On the other hand going forward we’ll now have a dynamic in which the more conservative Democrats from the Senate are all on notice to watch out for primary challenges.