November 6, 2006

Public Poll Shows Chafee and Whitehouse Neck-and-Neck

Carroll Andrew Morse

Since theres not much policy difference between the candidates to discuss in the RI Senate race, we might as well mention the horserace news.

A Mason-Dixon poll released over the weekend (link via WJAR-TV NBC 10) showed incumbent Senator Lincoln Chafee with a one-point lead over challenger Sheldon Whitehouse. Someone in the Whitehouse campaign and/or the Democratic Party must believe that the race has closed to a dead heat; according to Steve Peoples of the Projos 7-to-7 blog, former President Bill Clinton has been directed to Rhode Island for an unscheduled-as-of-last-week visit back to RI to try to give the Whitehouse campaign one last jolt.

Is Sheldon Whitehouses refusal to answer the Chafee campaigns charges of being soft-on-corruption taking its toll, with Sheldon Whitehouse playing the role of Matt Brown, but in slower motion? Or is it simply that the Whitehouses highly partisan campaign strategy vote for me because Im a Democrat and Democrats are good hit its ceiling early on (after all, people have been pretty sure about who the Democrat in this race from the start)? And with the race tightening, do disaffected conservative voters have cause reconsider their positions? About 384,000 people voted in the RI Senate race in 2000. About 30,000 people voted for Steve Laffey this year. If turnout is similar to 2000, and half of Laffeys voters leave their Senate ballots blank, thats a swing of about 2% in Whitehouses direction, enough to change a potential 51%-49% victory to a 49%-51% loss.

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The fact that they are sending Clinton in here at the end means that the Dems believe the recent "too close to call" polls.

Laffey voters who are thinking of blanking the Senate race should remember that they could be helping elect Pat Leahy as Chair of Judiciary and Joe Biden as Chair of Foreign Relations, etc., etc.

Posted by: brassband at November 6, 2006 9:10 AM

As a Republican, I cannot in good conscience do anything that will aid or assist Lincoln Chafee.

However, inspired by Chafees inspired example, on Tuesdays U.S. Senate race Im going to demonstrate my Party loyalty by writing in George H.W. Bush. Heres why

While I do not expect perfection in a Republican candidate or officeholder, I do expect ideological and functional compatibility with Republican Party principles and ideals at least on average. Lincoln Chafee has not only proven to be a reliable vote for the Democrats, he openly and notoriously repudiates Republican principles and ideals.

Is Lincoln Chafee the lesser of two evils as compared to Sheldon Whitehouse? Absolutely. But their ideological and political difference(s) are matters of degree, not of kind.

Worst of all, Lincoln Chafees solicitation of Democrat voters to NULLIFY the votes of Republican voters in a Republican primary is simply unforgivable. Because of this, while Senator Chafee may be the legal Republican candidate, I do not consider him to be a legitimate Republican candidate.

That the Republican National Committee, the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee and the RIGOP aided in this hijacking of the Republican primary signifies that when faced with a choice between: a) upholding Republican principles (or, at a minimum, the sanctity of process in selecting Republican candidates), or b) the retention of power, collectively they whored themselves in pursuit of the latter.

Lincoln Chafees embrace of the Democratic Partys platform of envy and resentment and entitlement and fear albeit with a more moderate flavor of same is and should be a recipe for minority status. And it is, as proven by the chronic minority status of the moderate RIGOP.

If were going to have representatives who vote like Democrats, then we might as well have the real thing at least then the blame will go to the Party where it belongs, without needlessly separating the Republican Party from Republican principles.

Posted by: Tom W at November 6, 2006 9:19 AM

Tom W -

I understand your sentiments completely. However, there is one facet of this campaign that you, and those who supported Mayor Laffey need to come to grips with in these waning 24 hours; if Lincoln Chafee loses tomorrow, the Democrats most likely take over the Senate.

I know the majority on this board (save Anthony) don't care for Senator Chafee in the slightest. But you do care that Bill Frist is the Majority Leader, and you don't want Harry Reid to take over that role. By casting a vote for Lincoln Chafee tomorrow, you will be ensuring that Bill Frist's successor will have an R after his or her name.

I know you would prefer a more conservative Republican to be in this race against Whitehouse. But that more conservative candidate would be down by 10 or more points right now. That's simply the way Rhode Island politics work, as we all know.

I know you believe in Mayor Laffey, and believe that he is a good man who works hard for Rhode Islanders. I agree with your sentiments, and hope that he succeeds Governor Carcieri four years from now, as he has demonstrated that he works very well in an executive position. I've always argued that Mayor Laffey doesn't get along well with others and a legislative body isn't the right fit for him. However, I do think he would be a very effective check on our corrupt General Assembly.

I implore everyone on this board to vote for who Mayor Laffey said he will be voting for on September 12th: Lincoln Chafee.

Posted by: Hayden at November 6, 2006 10:01 AM

"By casting a vote for Lincoln Chafee tomorrow, you will be ensuring that Bill Frist's successor will have an R after his or her name."

Unless the Senate gets really really close and Linc bolts the party like he's discussed in the past.

Of course, if he does that, Cheney will invite him to go hunting. And this time it won't be birdshot in the gun.

Posted by: Greg at November 6, 2006 10:15 AM

Hayden:

Though I voted for Laffey in the primary, I wasn't the Laffey supporter you assume. I didn't contribute money to his campaign and didn't volunteer any efforts to his campaign. In fact, I had real reservations concerning Laffey. So Laffey's loss is not my motivation.

I feel that if I vote for Chafee now I'll just be enabling the anti-Republican wing of the Republican Party, as they can keep doing what they've done here, and did in Pennsylvania the Specter - Toomey race.

They need to know that if they hijack Republican primaries to protect "Republican In Name Only" incumbents they risk losing the base, and cannot assume that they can frighten the base into coming back out of fear that the House - Senate will flip over to Democrat hands.

And besides, if Republican control of the Senate comes down to this one race, you can bet that Lincoln Chafee will pull a Jeffords and go Independent or go Democrat. CHAFEE HAS REFUSED TO PROMISE THAT HE WON'T DO THIS, SO WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU?

I can understand that some will hold their nose and vote for Chafee thinking that they are doing it "for the team."

Were I to do so, I would not be able to reconcile the feeling of having been used and played for a sucker. I'm just not willing to vote on their terms and in response to their scare tactics, and in doing so violate my political principles in order to assist a candidate who DISDAINS and OPPOSES my political principles.

Better to rid the Republican Party of its "weakest Linc."

Better a minority of real Republicans than the mess we have now, afraid to do anything out of fear of offending the "moderates" (Chafee - Snow - Collins - Specter).

Posted by: Tom W at November 6, 2006 10:42 AM

"... former President Bill Clinton has been directed to Rhode Island for an unscheduled-as-of-last-week visit back to RI ..."


Hello, President Clinton.

North Korea successfully detonated a nuclear device last month with the technology that you, as President, gave the Chinese. How does it feel to have facilitated this watershed event for a government that poses a serious threat to its neighbors and its own citizens and is the antithesis of everything in the American Constitution?

Posted by: SusanD at November 6, 2006 10:46 AM

Okay, it did take my aback to hear Clinton's voice come out of my answering machine (that was before half the politicians in the country called me up).

I just looked over the ballot -- can somebody explain to me that third constitutional amendment? The one about the rainy day fund? It's Monday morning, and I just couldn't turn it from politicalese into English for myself.

Posted by: S. Weasel at November 6, 2006 11:46 AM

I took my Mom out to lunch last week and she expressed that she wasn't sure how to approach the Senate race. I told her the story of Linc write-in voting George HW Bush, and suggested she write-in John Chafee. She laughed and declared it a splendid idea that would make her day. Thanks to AR commenters for coming up with that.

Posted by: rhodeymark at November 6, 2006 1:51 PM

Bill Clinton called me today, too (yes, me!). Guess they aren't being very selective with the phone calls. It seems desperate bringing him back. Sorry, won't work.

From a political ideology perspective, I agree with Tom wholeheartly. I think the Republicans need to loose something, in order to get their priorities back in order. However, if we "need" to loose something, I'd rather it be the House. Bush can always veto crummy legislation -- it might help put the brakes on out of control spending. I'm also convinced that Pelosi would make a fool of herself, so it would be a short-lived loss of control. However, I would like us to hold on to the Senate, mainly for the prospect of getting 1 or 2 more Supreme Court justices up there (John Paul Stevens isn't a spring chicken, and Ginsburg isn't the epitome of health).

I sincerely don't think our control of the Senate hinges on this one race alone, which makes it a lot easier for me to vote my conscience -- which means, not voting for Lincoln Chafee. I also do not want to validate the strategy used by national Republicans -- meddling locally in our primary contest. The only way I would even consider voting "for" Lincoln Chafee, is if someone else in my household says they're going to vote "for" Whitehouse, therefore allowing the two votes to cancel each other out. In the absence of that, I'm still planning a write-in vote.

Posted by: Will at November 6, 2006 2:10 PM

All you Laffey Kool-aid drinkers listen up. At some point your boy is going to run for another office. Remember that when you vote tomorrow. What goes around comes around. Be a real b!tch to have Chafee and Carcieri supporters working for Laffey's opponents in 2010.
Grow up kids!!

Posted by: Tim at November 6, 2006 4:00 PM

>>All you Laffey Kool-aid drinkers listen up. At some point your boy is going to run for another office. Remember that when you vote tomorrow. What goes around comes around. Be a real b!tch to have Chafee and Carcieri supporters working for Laffey's opponents in 2010.
Grow up kids!!

It's not about Laffey.

It's about purging the Republican Party of its #1 RINO.

I saw Laffey as a means of dumping Chafee, nothing more, nothing less.

We need six more years of Lincoln Chafee flipping off the Republican Party, and conservatives in particular, about as much as we need a tax increase.

And so, having nothing to do with Laffey, tomorrow I am writing in "George H.W. Bush."

Guess who gave me THAT idea?

Posted by: Tom W at November 6, 2006 4:37 PM

"Remember that when you vote tomorrow. What goes around comes around."

I wouldn't mind seeing Whitehouse learn that lesson tomorrow.
Vengeance is mine, sayeth Myrth York.

Posted by: Rhody at November 6, 2006 6:44 PM

If Chafee is the 50th Republican in the Senate (which he won't be, since the GOP will win in Tennessee, Missouri, Montana, Virginia and maybe Maryland), he would almost certainly switch to the Democrats rather than be the 50th vote and allow Dick Cheney to cast tie-breakers. Chafee would merely need to get an offer of the Foreign Relations Chairmanship by the Democrats (who would have no qualms with such a liberal extremist at the helm of that important committee); ironically, that's the same chairmanship that the Democrats gave Jumpin' Jim Jeffords when they convinced him to the jump to the Democrats (to Chafee's chagrin, since he wanted to be the one to jump and get the goodies), and which Jeffords is vacating with his retirement.

Lincoln Chafee gives the GOP *nothing*, he merely takes up GOP spots from Senate committees, giving the Democrats de facto control. I think he should be cast overboard, and a write-in vote for Steve Laffey would be a fitting way of doing so.

Posted by: AuH2ORepublican at November 6, 2006 7:15 PM
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