Arkansas voters are familiar with names on the ballot in the Democratic Senate primary election next week, but the campaign is unlike anything they've ever seen here before.
The race between U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Lt. Gov. Bill Halter has been overwhelmed by a multi-million-dollar, televised proxy battle among some of the nation's largest interest groups. They're fighting for supremacy in a state known for face-to-face politics.
The primary election has already cost more than Lincoln's entire 2004 campaign. Outside interest groups have spent more than $2.1 million on television ads in the last few months. Total TV spending, including the candidates' spots, reached $5 million before early voting began last week, according to Kantar CMAG, which tracks political ads.
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