Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Chafee wins R.I. primary

Lincoln Chafee, the Republican Senator from deep blue state Rhode Island and perrenial thorn in Bush's side, received a stiff challenge in the state's Republican primary yesterday by the more conservative Steve Laffey. Many pundits wondered if this outcome would be the right-wing version of Lamont over Lieberman in Connecticut.

It wasn't. Linc won, 54% - 46%. The national party campaigned hard against Laffey, which normally violates their principle to not get involved in primaries. Why would they go to the mat for a guy who is a RINO (Republican in Name Only)? In a word: survival.

See, had Laffey won, he would have been steamrolled in the general election by the Democrat nominee, Sheldon Whitehouse. So while the national GOP may not exactly be big fans of Chafee, should he defeat Whitehouse in November, he gives them one thing they can count on: his vote for Senate majority leader. Considering this election year is shaping up to be a potentially tide-turning year, the GOP needs to hold on to every seat they can, and Laffey would have allowed the seat to switch to the Dems. Heck, the seat could still wind up in the Dems' hands, but at least Chafee has a fighting chance.

I don't like Chafee at all. However, I think I would like "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid" even less.