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Clinton Makes Fundraising Pitch for Lincoln

Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D), a crucial swing vote in the Senate’s ongoing health care debate, called out the big guns for her re-election effort on Thursday, releasing a fundraising appeal from former President Bill Clinton.“Through all the attacks from the left and the right, Blanche has maintained a steady course for common sense reforms that matter most to a rural state like Arkansas where most people are self-employed or employees of small businesses,— Clinton wrote. “I admire her grit and I want to help her. I hope you do too.—The Clinton letter comes just two weeks before the fourth-quarter Federal Election Commission fundraising deadline. The fact that Lincoln — who already has more than $4 million in her campaign war chest — has deployed the former president so early in the campaign cycle may be a sign of just vulnerable the Senator believes she is heading into 2010.While the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the state GOP are working hard to paint Lincoln as too liberal for her state, she’s also been blasted by some in her own party who believe she has become a roadblock to President Barack Obama’s agenda. Clinton’s letter reminded potential donors of Lincoln’s growing influence in the Senate — a theme that is likely to become key for her re-election effort.“Now that she is the first Arkansan ever to chair the Senate Agriculture Committee and at the center of the health care debate, we couldn’t hope for more influence for our small state,— Clinton said. “She is exactly where you should want your Senator to be.—While the NRSC is working hard to keep the pressure on Lincoln, the Republican primary to choose who will run against her is shaping up to be a crowded affair.The top GOP prospect is state Sen. Gilbert Baker, who, according to his third-quarter report, raised more than $500,000 in less than three weeks of campaigning.Other GOP primary contenders include state Sen. Kim Hendren, retired Army Col. Conrad Reynolds, supermarket chain owner Curtis Coleman, financial adviser Buddy Rogers and several others.

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