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The Not One Dime campaign's first endorsed candidate, Stephen Laffey, has generated quite a bit of interest in his bid to unseat Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island. The New York Sun profiles Laffey in a Josh Gerstein article today, noting that Laffey's pro-Israel stance has helped boost his visibility:
The mayor of Cranston, R.I., Stephen Laffey, 43, is hoping to unseat Lincoln Chafee, a Republican who was appointed to the Senate in 1999 after the unexpected death of his father, John Chafee, and who won election to his father's former seat the following year.
The main fund-raising arm for Senate candidates, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is coming to Mr. Chafee's defense. About 11 months before the September 12 primary, the committee launched a series of television ads attacking Mr. Laffey's record on taxes and tarring him as a "slick" ally of the oil industry. The latter charge is taken as a slur by many environmentally conscious Rhode Islanders.
Mr. Chafee, 52, has made enemies of some political activists, though, with his votes against President Bush's tax cuts, against the Iraq war, and against a law authorizing sanctions on Syria. In 2004, the senator flirted with leaving the Republican Party and pointedly declined to vote for President Bush. Mr. Chafee told the Providence Journal that he wrote in the name of President George H.W. Bush as a "symbolic protest."
Those moves have produced support for Mr. Laffey.
"We've certainly hit a nerve," Mr. Laffey said of the intervention in the race by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "They obviously are very, very nervous."
And it's why Republicans should say Not One Dime! to the NRSC and instead contribute directly to GOP campaogns. I've already sent a donation to Laffey's campaign to make up for the fact that a national GOP organization would go on the attack against Republican primary challengers. To me, that's worse than supporting Chaffee, the most unreliable GOP caucus member of the Senate. Since when should our contributions go to attacking other Republicans?
Chaffee has done almost nothing for the GOP in this session of the Senate. He has proven himself a hurdle for George Bush's legislative agenda, frequently voting against tax cuts and the Bush foreign policy initiatives. No one knows why the NRSC has decided to attack Republicans on Chaffee's behalf, but we should make sure that we put an end to it. It looks like Chaffee might not be such a slam dunk after all, and our focus should be on finding and supporting those Republicans that will act like they belong to the same party. If nothing else, the NRSC should have kept its hands off the Rhode Island primary once a credible GOP challenger had been found to Chaffee.
UPDATE: Lincoln, not John; I made that mistake two times. Thanks to Jim for the heads-up.Sphere It View blog reactions
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