For the first time, Arkansas Lt. Gov Bill Halter leads his opponent, incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln, in a major independent Arkansas poll. A Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll shows Halter up 47% to 44%, with 9% undecided.
Halter entered the race in March and has trailed Lincoln consistently. Last Tuesday, he forced a June 8 run-off when neither candidate reached 50% in the state's Democratic primary (he got some help from D.C. Morrison, the third candidate in the race, who did far better than expected).
As has been the case from the start of his campaign, Halter owes a debt of gratitude to organized labor, which has continued to air TV ads, send direct-mail pieces to Arkansas voters, and canvass in support of Halter's campaign. AFSCME has said it will spend $1.4 million on the race before June 8; SEIU has already spent $650,000 since last Tuesday. AFL-CIO won't say how much it's spending, but it is spending something.
Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.