Some Thoughts on Rhode Island
by Matt Stoller, Thu Apr 27, 2006 at 08:27:26 AM EDT
Rhode Island is a strange state. Lincoln Chafee will be quite hard to beat in the general election, and the real threat to him comes from Laffey in the primary. There's no way Rhode Island will send Laffey to the Senate.
Which makes the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters and their encouragement of their members to vote for Chafee so irritating. You see, there's not many Republican primary voters in Rhode Island. 30,000, I think. But it's an open primary, so independents can vote. So the Sierra Club and LCV could have actually ensured Chafee's defeat. They did not. They did the opposite. More importantly, they didn't even use the leverage they had to force Chafee onto their turf.
Let me put it another way. The LCV and the Sierra Club could, for instance, have demanded that Chafee caucus with the Democrats for their support. They could have demanded this and defeated Chafee had he not acceded. But they did not. They chose to support a majority Republican Senate and Republican Commttee Chairs. Don't give me any nonsense about them supporting their friends. If they wanted Chafee as a friend, they could have demanded he act like it and still endorsed him. They didn't.
So if there's an open primary, and the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters are encouraging their Independent members to vote for Lincoln Chafee in the primary, then why don't Rhode Island Democrats organize voters to vote against Chafee and for Laffey in the primary?
(I'm not up on Rhode Island election law - can Democrats vote in the Republican primary?)