Outside groups spending big on upcoming primaries

    8:26 PM, May 17, 2010   |    comments
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    People across the country are paying attention as Arkansas gears up for its primary elections. The Democratic U.S. Senate race in particular, has made state and national headlines for weeks.

    There has been so much outside interest in this race that the candidates themselves have said, enough. In fact, in the final debate between the Democratic hopefuls Lt. Governor Bill Halter accused outside interest groups of trying to buy a U.S. Senate seat in Arkansas.

    The race has raked in national third-party funding, like ads against Lincoln paid for by labor unions that have so far spent $4 million backing Halter.

    There's also ads blasting Halter for sending jobs overseas, paid for by groups claiming to be pro-business.

    UALR's assistant political science professor doctor Joe Giammo explains why national groups care about Arkansas' race.

    "One of the main reasons it's getting attention both locally and nationally is that its usually only a handful of races in which an incumbent senator is seen as vulnerable and so those races naturally garner a lot of attention.

    "There have been some people this year who have been very fired up who are trying to get rid of people in the center because they're not happy. They want people are going to vote more with their party and Lincoln is certainly on the most dominate end of the party."

    Giammo says despite spending millions studies show interest groups don't buy Senate seats.

    "Basically it doesn't matter how much somebody spends if the message that they're trying to convince people of doesn't appeal to them," he says. 

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