Chafee In Deep Shit

We can add Rhode Island to Florida and Pennsylvania when it comes to recent Democratic good news in the Senate. Even despite NARAL's single issue myopia, Chafee is extremely vulnerable in 2006:Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) will likely keep his seat in the 2006 elections, according to a new Brown University poll. Chafee leads former Rhode Island Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse (D), 41% to 36%. And in a race against Secretary of State Matt Brown (D), Chafee would lead, 44% to 29%. Political Wire may be hedging its bets, but a well-known incumbent at only 41% sixteen months from an election in a trial heat with a comparatively unknwon challenger is in deep shit. Toss in the fact that it is a well-knwon Republican incumbent at only 41% in a state with a +23.2 DNC partisan index, the second most Dmeoratic state in the nation, and you might be able to guess where the bulk of the undecideds will go. For more on the incumbent rule, read this post.

Rhode Isalnd, Florida and Pennsylvania make a net Demcoratic pick-up of seats look like a good possibility. Taking over the Senate still would require a miracle.

Tags: Senate 2006 (all tags)

Comments

21 Comments

Very good news
However, I agree with NARAL. How can NARAL endorse an anti-abortion Democrat? NARAL is acting like a single issue advocacy group, because NARAL is a single issue advocacy group.

I think NARAL is sending the right message by endorsing a pro-choice Republican over an anti-abortion Democrat. Would anybody expect an anti-Union Democrat to get the union endorsement over a pro-Union Republican?

Would anybody expect Greenpeace to endorse a Democratic candidate who voted for Bush's anti-environmental Clean Skies and Healthy Forests bills over a pro-environment Republican?

In a state with a 23.2 DNC Partisan Index, why on earth is the Democratic party fielding an anti-abortion candidate? The Democratic party has peculiar expectations for single issue advocacy groups.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-06-30 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Very good news
Whitehouse is NOT an anti-abortion Democrat.  The anti-choice candidate was Jim Langevin, who is not running.  Brown and Whitehouse are pro-choice.  That is why it was stupid.
by Mimikatz 2005-06-30 02:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Very good news
nor is Whitehouse "little-known" in RI
by plunkitt 2005-06-30 02:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Very good news
Chafee has an 85% name recognition in RI. I have no figures for Whitehouse, but I doubt he comes within 20 points of that.
by Chris Bowers 2005-07-01 06:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Very good news
You're right it was stupid. I just assumed that the Democrat who Chaffee was running against must be pro-life. Somebody at NARAL has been smoking something medicinal marijuana.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-06-30 04:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Very good news
This was the subject over at D Kos some weeks ago, with the pro NARAL forces claiming that NARAL can support whoever they want to although they held the Democratic Party over a barrel saying they would not support an anti choice candidate. Which is there choice, but then when the anti choice Democratic choice was out of the race, they turned around and supported the pro choice Republican overall the pro choice Democrat.  The excuse given by the pro NARAL suppoters were that NARAL was doing this for NARAL's own best interest in protecting their power base w/ Republicans w/ candidate such as Chafee. Which, at the time, and still doesn't make much sense given Chafee's voting record on Bush's judicial nominees.  The excuse given back was that "well, but conservative Democrats supported these nominees too." In addition, the other comments were but we can't trust conservative Democrats not to screw us over. The argument made back to that is- and I never got a response back- these statements show a fundamental lack of understanding of how the Senate work. As we learned with the recent filabuster debate, who controls to Senatre is who controls the agenda for the Senate. Therefore, any candidates who are anti choice would have an impossible time just getting out of committee and would need to be by definition more moderate than the nominees we are seeing now.
by bruh21 2005-06-30 04:38PM | 0 recs
2006 Results
It seems quite possible that Dems could pick up 4 Senate seats and say as many as 6 or 8 House seats plus a bunch of governorships in 2006.  It also seems likely that the Pubkicans who go down, especially in the Senate will tend to be "moderates" from Blue states rasther than the fire breathers.  And the House gains also seem likely to come from heavily Dem regions.

The results may be, oddly, not too much in terms of stopping Bush in 2007 to 2009 and an actual encouragement to the wingnuts.

Look at this scenario.  Senate losers: Santorum, Chaffee, DeWine and possibly the seat up in Maine (Snowe) or Tennesse (open seat, is Frist).  Yes, Snowe is possible, but Bush is not in Maine and neither are the hardline Republicans.

The House pickups could include Henry Hyde's old seat, the scandal packed Duke Cunningham and Tom De Lay, the Connecticut duo of Shays and Simmons, and possible pickups around PA, maybe another California, and (hope, hope) a seat in NJ (Garrett) and the open seat in Iowa.

We'd still need to hold on to all our Senate votes and pick up 2 from the dwindling group of Gop moderates.

The best news would also come among the political death of GOP governors like Arnold, Pataki, Mitt Romney, and Jody Rell and wingers who are term limited Ehrlich, Owens.

by David Kowalski 2005-06-30 01:14PM | 0 recs
Snowe is extremely safe
She has a 71/24 fav/unfav rate (and an 80/15 amoungst Democrats, 15 points higher than amoungst Republicans).  She is untouchable; focus our resources elsewhere.

http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=f3ee9081-811b-4df6-96d5-5f2fd0ade524

by Geotpf 2005-06-30 03:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Snowe is extremely safe
That doesn't seem to jive w/ a fifty state goal. Doesn't it make sense to run a candidate simply to make sure that a) the other side isn't able to run in a microcosm of the states b) tests messaging in those states c) keep the infrastructured updated for 2008. Even if you lose, you are building for the future
by bruh21 2005-06-30 04:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Snowe is extremely safe
Who said anything about not running a candidate?

There is a difference, however, between running a candidate and placing it in the same realm as the TN, RI, PA, elections.

by v2aggie2 2005-06-30 09:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Snowe is extremely safe
Okay cool- just wanted to be clear that we weren't talking about running a race unchallenged, and the reasons why doing so wouldn't be a good idea
by bruh21 2005-07-01 12:16AM | 0 recs
Exactly
I'm sure we will run somebody; and I'm sure that somebody will lose.  But if you have fifty bucks to spend, give it to a race that is actually going to be close.
by Geotpf 2005-07-01 06:25PM | 0 recs
Every GOP incumbent is apparently toast
Based on threads here in recent weeks. Pardon me if  I continue to allow a private chuckle at the misplaced optimism.

Langevin decided not to run. So now we're supposed to believe he can't handicap his own state, and one of our backup outponies will simply romp in his place? OK.

How many GOP incumbents have lost recently in major statewide races? I can think of Benson (NH gov) and Hutchinson (AR senate). Maybe the 2002 Wyoming gov race. In Arkansas we had the advantage of a well known son of a major political figure in the state's recent history. In Rhode Island, that is flopped in Chafee's favor. I remember last year he polled 25 points higher than Bush in popularity in Rhode Island.

In a gov race I might believe Chafee was vulnerable, even though Rhode Island, despite it's partisan index, is comfortable with a GOP governor who will apparently be re-elected. But in a federal race like senate I just don't buy it and I also don't believe Chafee will lose the typical incumbent percentage among undecideds. Post 9/11 the GOP has a small but critical edge in party ID shift and the late undecideds tend to default heavily to national security concerns at the end. On other sites, if not here, I posted that repeatedly last year in insisting the projected numbers of undecideds to Kerry were wildly optimistic and out of bounds. It is true the party ID shift is much less prevalent in the New England states.

by jagakid 2005-06-30 01:34PM | 0 recs
Let me get this straight
Are you trying to convince us that Bush's declining ratings will not affect the 2006 election? Don't forget the Republican voting loyalty to Bush:

Overall
Democratic Loyalty: 82.4% (83.4%)
Republican Loyalty: 94.8% (94.5%)

Not only is Bush unpopular, so are his policies. Can you tell me what programs Republicans are going to run on in 2006? Are they going to be bragging about all the pork they brought home to justify massive deficit spending? Are they going to be running on their support for Bush's Iraq war? Are they going to be running on privatizing Social Security?

Maybe you think the increasing unpopularity of Bush's Iraq war won't have any effect on Republicans in 2006. Are you suggesting that even if the approval rates for the Iraq war go even lower (a distinct possibility), it won't make any difference to whether voters elect a Democrat or a Republican?

At this point in time every single Democrat should be running with the attitude and aggressiveness of Chuck Pennacchio. No namby pamby faux Republican lite B.S. The should tie their opponent to the war and privatization. Demand whoever they run against denounce privatization and denounce the war that is killing our sons and daughters and wasting our national treasure.

Do you have a problem with that strategy?

by Gary Boatwright 2005-06-30 01:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Let me get this straight
The first three paragraphs I'm in agreement.  I have a problem with the "strategy" because I have a problem with the framing of it, which leads to some idiotic conclusions.

For instance, if anyone thinks that a Barbara Boxer candidate can win in Tennessee instead of a moderate Democrat like Harold Ford, they need to join this current administration in the Clue Department at K-Mart.

I think we should be running aggressively for every seat.  I think a national "purity" litmus test is madness.  If a Progressive can pick off a seat, great.  If a moderate picks off a seat, great.  I'd prefer to save the intramural fighting until after we have a safe majority to organize the chambers and to block judges and other key votes, thank you very much.

by InigoMontoya 2005-06-30 04:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Let me get this straight
Who is seeking a purity test? Doesn't this diary implicitly put down the idea of running purity tests even if individual commenters do seem to be pushing for purity tests? And, finally, what weight should we be giving the polling data, if any, if you don't think there is room for hope in a state that from the data only a few weeks ago seemed to be sliping after what NARAL pulled
by bruh21 2005-06-30 04:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Let me get this straight
I was responding to an assertion, not a diary, viz., throwing a ton of weight behind Pennacchio instead of "namby pamby faux Republicans lite B.S."

I've swum in poll data for 30 years.  I've watched states evolve.  

Politics is the art of the possible.

My comment was directed at Rhode Island at all.  I agree with GaryB that Bush's poll numbers should be a drain on Republicans everywhere.  Personally, I think Chaffee may be vulnerable.  I don't think Snowe is.  Not even remotely.

Give us a good candidate and for the first time in a long time I like the shot in Ohio.  Btw, did anyone catch the bait that Reid laid out, suggesting Mike DeWine for an SC appointment?   That would mean a second Senate seat opening up...I think...I forget if Ohio appointments are for the remainder of the term or only until the next scheduled election.

by InigoMontoya 2005-07-01 04:49PM | 0 recs
Florida?
We hold the FL Senate seat, so if Nelson is reelected, it wouldn't get us closer to control.  I guess you just meant to include it in the sense that Nelson's strength vis a vis Harris is good news, but it is a bit unclear.  It is too early to say with Chafee.  How many more Bolton-type votes will there be?  What will he do about the war?
by Mimikatz 2005-06-30 02:29PM | 0 recs
Cheap Seats
The Dems need to find the cheapest states to run hard against incumbents. Rhode Island isn't Wyoming, but it can be had for much less than a bruise-bowl against Santorum. However, if Chafee lost, and Santorum elected not to run again because he lacked money... that would open the door to run hard in Tennessee, Nevada, and Montana...splitting the country in half.
by risenmessiah 2005-06-30 04:12PM | 0 recs
perhaps Chafee was ours ?
if Democrats had won a few more seats
in the recent election -- say, perhaps
Kentucky,
Florida,
North Carolina,
South Carolina,
Alaska, or
Oklahoma, or
another,
or held on to South Dakota -- and
the Senate had met tied 50-50,
then would the Senator from Rhode Island
-- who declared that he was not voting
for George W Bush -- would Chafee
have voted as a Republican to
organize the Senate under Frist?

or would he have been another
defecting New Englander, like
former Republican Senator Jeffords?

an old saying -- the Supreme Court
follows the elections.
well, so do some fence-sitting Senators.

we lost the last election, lost it badly,
swept in the South, our Senate leader
turned out in the Plains, etc. maybe
Senator Chafee noticed the results
and he is going with the flow, simply
following the national will expressed
on election day.

did you notice we badly lost the Senate?

the Democratic problems are not in
Rhode Island, but are plentiful almost
everywhere else.
we need to work harder and smarter
almost everywhere else.

and nevermind Senator Chafee. if we
happened to pick up five other seats
elsewhere, to tie the Senate 50-50,
we just might find him on our side
come the next January, following
the national will expressed in the
election returns of '06.

so let's use our lmited firepower to
defeat the third-ranked Republican
Senator from Pennsylvania and
a few other well-deserving targets
where we can really see a difference
and make a real change.

by Woody 2005-07-02 05:46AM | 0 recs
More Good News from R.I.
Read the Providence Journal this morning.  Not only did Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse raise $775,000 in three months (this is actually a wicked big number - largest in state history for a candidiate and challenger) but Matt Brown, his opponent's Treasurer appeared on a fundraising ticket for Whitehouse.

The Provience Journal reports that Chafee raised @ $400,000 and Brown has repeatedly refused to release his number.

It is still early, but it is looking better and better everyday to replace Chafee with a real Democrat.

by RI Observer 2005-07-08 06:49PM | 0 recs

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