Rhode Island Republican primary

Having followed the Connecticut Democratic primary to its recent conclusion, it’s good to see the Republicans are now tearing themselves apart in Rhode Island.

Sitting Senator Lincoln Chafee is an ultra-moderate Republican, possibly remaining a Republican only because of a promise to his father John, the previous Senator.

Chafee’s perceived liberalism has led to him being challenged by right-wing outrider Steve Laffey, Republican Mayor of local town Cranston.

Polling shows that if nominated, he would probably be annihilated by the Democratic candidate in what is usually a moderately liberal state, so the Republicans nationally are backing Chafee.

However, they have been spooked by a Rhode Island College poll showing Laffey just one point behind. Could an upset be in the offing? 

In order to avoid this pitfall, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has unleashed a wave of vicious attack ads on Laffey – slamming him from even further to the right, for accepting Mexican ID cards in Cranston.

The ad can be viewed at Daily Kos and features lots of images of suspicious looking Hispanic men.

Are you thinking what we’re thinking?


3 Responses to Rhode Island Republican primary

  1. Al says:

    Nothing moderate about Chafee; he’s a genuine Liberal Republican (not many of those left) and in the Senate functions as something of a one man third party. He’s in deep, deep trouble though, although not as much as he could have been (if Langevin had stayed in the race for the Democratic nod, Chafee probably wouldn’t have had even a hope in hell of winning the General Election).

  2. Well, he’s usually considered the most liberal Republican in the Senate, holding traditionally liberal positions on taxes, abortion, gay rights, gun control and many other issues. He’s backed some elements of Bush’s social security plan though, and is fairly strongly in favour of international free trade which some on the left would object to.

    He is certainly often accused of being a RINO – Republican In Name Only – and the Club for Growth are leafleting Rhode Island with “Lincoln Chafee never met a tax he didn’t like” flyers.

    You’re quite right that he’s in trouble – there have been two polls showing him behind Whitehouse (who looks a dead cert for the Democratic nomination at the moment) by significant margins in July and August, though there are always problems with polling in the holiday season.

    RI has to be one of the most bizarre Senate races – it’s not too often you see the national leadership of a party run attack ads on one of their own.

  3. Final result – Chafee hangs on 54/46 on a record high turnout, possibly saved by registered independents, who can vote in RI primaries. Should still be a tough challenge for him in November.

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