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Lincoln Airs First Campaign TV Ad

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) on Thursday released the first television ad of what is shaping up to be the toughest re-election campaign of her career.

The new ad comes just days after the moderate Lincoln got a serious primary challenger in the form of Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (D). Halter’s candidacy was lobbied for by leading progressive groups such as, and within hours of his announcement he was embraced by organized labor, including the AFL-CIO. Progressive and liberal groups helped raise almost $1.1 million for Halter’s campaign in the first three days since his announcement.

But Lincoln doesn’t seem to be shifting to the left in her first TV ad, which her campaign called a “substantial buy” that is scheduled to air March 5-12 in all Arkansas markets.

In the 30-second commercial, Lincoln touts the votes where she broke with her party on major issues this cycle. She specifically cites her opposition to the second round of Troubled Asset Relief Program funding, the auto industry bailout, the public option in the health care bill and cap-and-trade legislation.

“None of those were right for Arkansas,” Lincoln says in the spot. “Some in my party didn’t like it very much, but I approve this message because I don’t answer to my party, I answer to Arkansas.”

Lincoln will face Halter in the May primary, and more than half a dozen Republicans are vying for their party’s Senate nomination. The leading GOP candidates are Rep. John Boozman and state Sen. Gilbert Baker.

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