Another Senator May Lose His Own Primary

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Monday, September 4, 2006 - 12:15am

Another Senator May Lose His Own Primary

In the state of Rhode Island, Senator Lincoln Chafee (R) is in the battle of his political lifetime. Republican Steve Laffey is challenging Senator Chafee in the primary that is to be held on September 12th.  In the latest poll conducted by Rhode Island College, Laffey held a commanding 51% - 36% lead over Chafee.  The poll has a very wide margin of error (5.1%) and other polls have been much closer, but it does show the vulnerability of the incumbent Senator.  Chafee may not even be in the general election.

 

   Unlike Joe Lieberman, Lincoln Chafee will not be running as an independent should he lose. However, this race is very important for the Democrats.  Rhode Island is considered a very competitive state that the Democrats need to win.  Even though Chafee is very liberal for a Republican, the White House is fully supporting him.  Laura Bush and other top level Republicans have been campaigning for Chafee.  If Laffey were to beat him out for the nomination, it would be a major blow to the administration.

 

The Democrats clearly want Steve Laffey to win.  The Democratic nominee, Sheldon Whitehouse, is running neck and neck with Senator Chafee, but is polling about 25% higher than Steve Laffey.  That is a huge difference.  If Laffey wins the primary, he has almost no chance of winning the general election.  If Chafee wins the primary, the Republicans at least have a decent shot of holding the seat.

 

It's hard to know if that poll is accurate, but Laffey has been picking up momentum in recent weeks.  Rhode Island is not a large state and Laffey has made progress getting his name out there as a conservative alternative to Lincoln Chafee.

 

The election is only eight days away, but it will be telling.  If Laffey wins, you can put Rhode Island in the Democrats column.  While not a guaranteed victory for Sheldon Whitehouse, it would be extremely hard for Laffey to make up a 25% deficit in a very blue state in less than two months.

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