Over at National Review Online, John J. Miller previews the 2006 Senate races. With all due respect to the conservative mothership, he gets Rhode Island completely wrong.
Lincoln Chafee, the sort-of Republican, isn’t well liked by many of his GOP colleagues because they worry he’ll bolt the party if it means he can stay in the majority. He may face a primary, but he’ll probably win. Democrats will have a hard time coming up with a candidate who can beat him. Congressman Patrick Kennedy would be an interesting choice, but he appears content in the House.
First, obviously the name “Steve Laffey” has not trickled up to the national level yet. He would certainly be a strong challenger against Chafee in a Republican primary. Second, I think that Miller underestimates the potential of a Kennedy run. Kennedy can present himself as more responsible than Chafee on national security issues (he voted in favor of the Iraq war). Enough Republicans may have grown tired enough of Chafee to leave that part of the ballot blank on election day, especially if the Republicans already have a solid 54-or-more member majority in the Senate.