RI Senate: Chafee’s Challenge Remains Unchanged

April 30, 2006 · 12:02 AM EDT

Secretary of State Matt Brown’s (D) exit from the Rhode Island senate race is not all that surprising and does little to change the fundamental landscape of the race. A couple of serious missteps early were the undoing of Brown’s underdog run.

Brown’s decision to spend virtually all of his campaign funds on early television advertising didn’t vault him into permanent contention with his Democratic opponent, former state Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse. And Brown’s attempts to circumvent campaign finance laws severely undercut his message as a candidate who would “clean up” Washington. With no money and no message, Brown’s exit was inevitable.

But Sen. Lincoln Chafee’s (R) biggest hurdle for reelection continues to be defeating Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey in the September 12 Republican primary. Through the end of March, Chafee showed over $1.8 million in the bank compared to the Club For Growth-backed Laffey, who had just over $1 million.

Meanwhile, Whitehouse is sitting on over $1.8 million himself, now without a primary opponent. But if Chafee can survive the primary, he will have the edge going into November.

This item first appeared on Political Wire on April 27, 2006.