Arkansas expecting record turnout for May primary

Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (D) may benefit from what's expected to be record turnout in the Arkansas congressional primaries May 18.

Secretary of State Charlie Daniels (D) said turnout for next month's primary vote could be Arkansas's highest for a non-presidential year election since 1994.

"I think 30 to 35 (percent of registered voters) is not unreasonable for this election, even though the trend or the stats for previous years haven't been that great," Daniels told the Arkansas News Bureau.

Thirty percent of Arkansas's 1.6 million registered voters would be 480,000 people.

"To me, it seems like an unusual year in that three of the four congressional district races are open, there's not an incumbency in those. Then you've got the U.S. Senate race, where you have a number of candidates on the Republican side, and then the Democratic primary," he said.

An influx of new voters could benefit Halter, who's challenging two-term incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln for the Democratic nomination.

The two met on Saturday for their first televised debate.

During the often-heated exchanges, Halter said his campaign has taken down a website referring to Lincoln as "Bailout Blanche" and called on her to stop calling him "Dollar Bill Halter." Lincoln refused, saying Halter's business background is a fair target for criticism, according to the Baxter Bulletin.