Republicans wasted no time Thursday in trying to tie other Democratic Senate candidates to allegations the White House used plum administration positions as bait to persuade candidates to drop primary challenges to vulnerable incumbents.
Following Andrew Romanoff’s Wednesday night admission that he discussed several possible jobs with White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, the National Republican Senatorial Committee sought to expand the growing controversy, questioning in a release whether Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s (D-Ark.) primary challenger Bill Halter had received similar overtures.
With questions continuing to swirl around former President Bill Clinton’s efforts to convince Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) to drop his ultimately successful bid against Sen. Arlen Specter (D), the NRSC argued that a “troubling pattern” of the White House interfering in primary races means that other candidates like Halter must now answer whether they have been offered jobs.
“Clearly there is a troubling pattern here that raises new questions in Arkansas. As the details continue to surface surrounding the job opportunities that the Obama Administration offered to Democrats in Colorado and Pennsylvania, Arkansans deserve to know: Was Bill Halter ever offered a similar opportunity?,” NRSC spokeswoman Amber Marchand said in a statement.
“And if not, why did the White House consider it more important to protect party-switcher Arlen Specter and appointed Senator Michael Bennet, but not a veteran incumbent like Blanche Lincoln, who has toed the party line for President Obama on key initiatives like the stimulus and health care?,” Marchand added.
The revelations about Messina’s efforts to convince Romanoff to drop his challenge to Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) could not come at a more difficult time for Democrats. Republicans are hammering Sestak for refusing to provide details of his conversations with Clinton, while in Chicago, prosecutors are preparing for the trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) in part over allegations that he sought to sell President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat.