Here Comes the Establishment

The Washington Times has this story about Mayor Laffey’s primary challenge against Senator Chafee:

White House adviser Karl Rove and Senate Republican campaign chairwoman Elizabeth Dole tried to discourage the mayor of Cranston, R.I., from running against the party’s liberal Sen. Lincoln Chafee next year, but to no avail.
Now Stephen Laffey, a former investment banker who announced his candidacy Thursday, is the target of a National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) broadside that accuses him of sharply raising property taxes on his city’s residents…
Meanwhile, Republican strategists have compiled a report showing that the mayor has raised property taxes substantially in his city. While the senator opposed Mr. Bush’s tax cuts, Republican officials say Mr. Laffey’s hands are not clean on the tax issue, either.
In a still-undisclosed research report titled, “The Laffey Tax Machine,” the NRSC says that “one of the first official duties as mayor was to raise taxes 12.8 percent, approximately $490 for a home valued at $150,000.”…
The NRSC report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times, said the Laffey “tax hike was on top of an 11.5 percent increase property owners had already seen that year.”
“Adding in Laffey’s supplemental tax, Cranston homeowners’ taxes were 25.8 percent higher than the year before.”
But Mr. Laffey defended his actions Friday, saying the city had “the lowest bond rating in the United States.”…
Voters rewarded his actions by re-electing Mr. Laffey last year with 65 percent of the vote in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2-to-1.
Mr. Chafee made it clear last week that he is going to make Mr. Laffey’s property-tax increases a major issue in the campaign.
“The sole reason for the change in Cranston’s financial fortunes is Laffey’s unprecedented tax hikes. Some Cranston taxpayers have seen their tax bills double due to Laffey’s stewardship,” Mr. Chafee said.

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