David Scharfenberg of the Providence Phoenix takes issue with my analysis of the Rhode Island governor’s race: “Sure, Republicans have held the governor’s chair of late. But no one gives the lone Republican in the race, State Rep. Joseph Trillo, much of a chance to win in 2010. If Chafee wins, it is the Democrats who will suffer.”
Fair enough. My only point was that given Rhode Island’s recent electoral history, it is not outlandish to imagine that Lincoln Chafee could have won as a liberal Republican rather than an independent. Chafee lost in 2006 largely as a way to deny Republicans voting on national issues control of the Senate. But Rhode Islanders re-elected the more conservative Donald Carcieri as governor the same year, showing an openness to letting strong Republican candidates handle state issues. But it is nevertheless true that a strong showing by Chafee could imperil a Democratic pickup opportunity in Rhode Island.