Yes, Chafee Won in Rhode Island, But the Numbers Behind the Numbers Could Mean a Win for Democrats in November
Sen. Lincoln Chafee (RI), perhaps the most liberal Republican in the Senate, might be looking at defeat in November if Tuesday's primary results are any indication. While Chafee handily beat his Republican challenger, Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey, it's the overall voter turnout that's key here.
A couple of interesting stats:
-Chafee won less than 55% of the GOP vote
-Democratic Challenger Sheldon Whitehouse received more than 81% of the Democrat vote.
-Whitehouse’s vote total was more than 5,700 votes above the combined Republican vote
-The total Democratic vote exceeded the total Republican vote by 21,439.
Here are the actual vote totals:
-Lincoln P. Chafee: 34,873 (54.17%)
-Steven Laffey: 29,500 (45.83%)
-Total Republican Vote: 63,373
-Sheldon Whitehouse: 69,159 (81.54%)
-Christopher F. Young: 8,916 (10.51%)
-Carl L. Sheeler: 6,737 ( 7.94%)
-Total Democratic Vote: 84,812
The data is a potential foreshadowing of the trouble Chafee faces this Fall if the Democratic Party wins the get-out-the-vote war. The very liberal Rhode Island is a critical battleground state in the Democrats' push to recapture the Senate. They need six seats to regain control, with Montana, Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee comprising the other key states. Virginia has recently beocme in play following Sen. George Allen's "macaca" blunder weeks ago. Allen's once commanding lead over Democratic challenger Jim Webb has diminished considerably.