Blanche Lincoln in for Tough Re-election in 2004
by Lucas Everidge
The smallest Southern state in both population and size, Arkansas has turned into a fierce battleground for Democrats and Republicans. Heavily sought after are the conservative-leaning, independent voters. Historically, Arkansas has elected moderate Democrats like Dale Bumpers and David Pryor, but public disgust with the state's own Bill Clinton in the 1990's gave Republicans new appeal. Consequently. Arkansas' two Democratic senators walk a fine line to please their traditional moderate constituents, while not alienating their more liberal Democratic base.
As in Texas and Louisiana in the 1990's, Republicans made greater inroads into Arkansas' political offices, systematically knocking off historically Democrat-held seats for Governor and Lt. Governor. Bush targeted Arkansas in the 2000 Presidential election. He appeared in Northwest Arkansas on Election Eve, and ended up with 51 percent of the state vote. Bush carried Arkansas; however, it was his lowest percentage among the Southern states (except, of course, Florida).
In 2004, Sen. Blanche Lincoln is up for re-election to a second term and,
by all accounts, the race will be highly competitive. Lincoln stopped the
Republican advance in Arkansas in her 1998 election, where she defeated
Fay Boozman 55 to 42 percent. Boozman ran proclaiming his profound religious
beliefs, and he called for Clinton to resign. He further said the Bible
dictated his anti-tax philosophy and made a serious gaffe when proclaiming
that it is rare for women to get pregnant by rape because fear triggers
a hormonal change that blocks conception.
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