Incumbent Republican Senator of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee, barely held on to his parties nomination yesterday in the R.I. primaries. Even though Chafee beat his opponent by 8% points (54%-46%), I say barely because Chafee is not the choice of R.I. Republicans. Going into Tuesdays primaries, I saw one poll putting Stephen Laffey ahead at 64% with registered Republicans.
The only way that Chafee squeaked this one out is because independents are able to vote in either party primaries. Without the support of moderate independents, Laffey would have upset Chafee.
National Republicans were taking the offensive against Laffey because he would have gone on to almost certain defeat against the Democratic contender. The National Republican Senatorial Committee even funneled its own money into attack ads against Laffey in order to help Chafee win the parties nomination.
It will be interesting to see how things will turn out in November. Has Chafee been damaged by the close race? Only time will tell.
Moderate GOP Senator Beats Conservative Challenger in R.I.
By Shailagh Murray and Zachary A. Goldfarb
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, September 13, 2006; Page A01
PROVIDENCE, R.I., Sept. 12 -- Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee, a moderate who has frequently clashed with the Bush administration, beat back a strong conservative challenger Tuesday night in the GOP primary in Rhode Island.
The victory came amid heavy turnout, after the same Republican establishment that Chafee has so often defied rallied to his side with money and logistical support for a vigorous get-out-the-vote effort. While there is little personal affection for Chafee at the White House, operatives there and in the Republican Party leadership calculated that he is the GOP's best chance of holding the seat in a Democratic-leaning state in November.