Sunday, September 10, 2006

To Hold Senate, G.O.P. Bolsters Its Most Liberal

With a barrage of television advertisements and the mobilization of its get-out-the-vote machine, the national Republican Party has lined up in Rhode Island to beat back a conservative primary challenge to the most liberal Republican in the Senate, Lincoln Chafee. The outcome on Tuesday could help determine whether Democrats have a shot at taking back the Senate.

In an extraordinary pre-emptive announcement, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has said it will concede Rhode Island to the Democrats should Stephen Laffey, the mayor of Cranston, defeat Mr. Chafee in the primary. Citing poll data, Republican leaders said they saw no way someone as conservative as Mr. Laffey could win in a state as Democratic as this; as it is, they are increasingly worried about Mr. Chafeeā€™s hopes in a general election.

The result has been the striking sight of the national Republican Party, dominated by conservatives, using resources to save the seat of a Republican who said he voted against Mr. Bush in 2004. He chose instead to write in the name of the first President Bush.

Mr. Chafee has opposed many centerpiece Republican policies, from the war in Iraq to tax cuts to most restrictions on abortion. This week, he helped force a delay on the confirmation of John R. Bolton as the United States ambassador to the United Nations.

FULL STORY

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