Exactly one year ago today, former Senator Lincoln Chafee (RI) successfully defeated his far-right primary opponent. Chafee went on to be defeated in the November general election in the anti-incumbent, anti-Republican wave that swept the nation, but it was in his moment of victory that the moderate wing of the Republican Party exhibited its great influence.
Now Chafee's GOP opponent, Steve Laffey (who is the former mayor of Cranston), has released a book entitled, "Primary Mistake: How the Washington Republican Establishment Lost Everything in 2006 (and Sabotaged My Senatorial Campaign)." The title, and likely much of the contents, of this book only serves to further divide the Republican Party. Of course, differing views are welcome within the 'Big Tent' GOP, but by placing blame on certain individuals for a loss Laffey has merely underscored what so many already have to say about the GOP.
Party leaders, political pundits and the general public agreed that Senator Chafee was the only Republican who would be able to pull off a win in the general election in 2006 due to the fact that Rhode Island is turning more and more to the left. Although Chafee ultimately did not win re-election, we do know that the margin of that loss would have been much greater if Laffey had been the Republican contender in that race.