Huckabee adviser to run for Senate in Arkansas

Businessman Curtis Coleman, an adviser to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), said Wednesday that he will seek the GOP nomination to face Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) in 2010.

Coleman had an exploratory committee for the race and has talked about running for some time. He said in a release that it’s time for the state to elect a businessman.

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“The critical issues facing Americans today — like healthcare reform — will have such a profound impact on our daily lives that we must replace career politicians with citizen statesmen,” he said in the release.

Coleman managed Huckabee’s unsuccessful campaign for Senate in 1992. He is currently the CEO of the Safe Foods Corp.

Though he had opened an exploratory committee, Coleman raised just $14,000 in the second quarter, so it’s not clear how good a fundraiser he is at this point.

Huckabee is also close to state Sen. Gilbert Baker, who is still weighing the race. Huckabee told The Hill recently that he would probably not choose sides if two people he was close to run for the seat.

Already in the race is state Sen. Kim Hendren. Both he and Coleman have run into some early trouble with the things they’ve said.

Hendren called Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) “that Jew,” while Coleman suggested you needed “a visa and shots” to go to southeast Arkansas, which happens to have a large African-American population.

Lincoln is a second-tier GOP target in 2010. The GOP doesn’t have an extremely strong candidate to run against her apart from Huckabee, who will not run. But the state was one of the most Republican in the 2008 presidential election.

A bipartisan poll from an Arkansas business publication released Wednesday showed Lincoln favorability at a decent 49 percent, but just 27 percent of voters said they would commit voting for her regardless of her opponent.

This story was updated at 1:10 p.m.