Laffey Laying Groundwork for Governor in ’10
Ian Donnis has a story in this week’s Phoenix on former Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey and what he’s up to.
Laffey, a member of the local steering committee for Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign, has been turning up at GOP events in recent months, including a May 24 joint fundraiser of the South Kingstown and Narragansett Republican town committees. Even more significantly, after being stunned by his eight-point loss to Chafee last fall, the preternaturally confident Laffey is poised to get a two-fer with the scheduled publication in September of Primary Mistake: How the Washington Republican Establishment Lost Everything in 2006 (and Sabotaged my Senatorial Campaign).
FYI, Justin and Andrew were at the South County GOP event and spoke with Mayor Laffey, who appeared to be in his element, standing on a chair and hawking for Rudy Giulianni. As for that book, don’t hold your breath for any scathing attacks on local GOPers. According to Ian:
“According to one operative in the conservative wing of the party, the mayor has been very shrewd not to burn many local bridges in his book as his gaze becomes fixed on the governor’s office,” says a local Republican. “Instead of the local cast of characters you might expect outed, look for [former Republican National Committee chairman] Ken Mehlman, [former White House chief of staff] Andy Card, and the NRSC [National Republican Senatorial Committee] to be singled out as sacrificing principles for party. And what would any, ahem, great contemporary political opus be without a reference to Karl Rove?”
Ian also discusses Laffey’s “peculiar place in Rhode Island’s political universe” and sought comments from some of Rhode Island’s big-time political pundits. Here’s Darrell West:
“The natural office for him would be the governor’s office in 2010….It will be an open seat election, so he doesn’t have to worry about taking on an incumbent. The GOP doesn’t have a deep bench. He has a personality that is better suited for the executive than the legislative branch.” And since his politics are in line with those of Governor Donald L. Carcieri, West says, Laffey is not too conservative to win a statewide election in Rhode Island.
Here’s Laffey friend and WPRO morning show host, John DePetro:
“…if you’re the Republican Party, you can’t not have a guy like that in your starting lineup….The Republican Party can’t just be Mayor Avedisian and Governor Carcieri. The two [conservative and moderate] sides have got to find a way to make it work.”
Saving the best for last, Donnis interviewed Andrew Morse, some conservative blogger….
While conservatives have sometimes been put off by parts of Laffey’s rhetoric, Andrew Morse, a founding contributor to the conservative blog Anchor Rising, writes in an e-mail interview, his financial experience and mayoral record could be a good fit for the governor’s job.
And as Morse notes, there’s a wider view among Rhode Islanders that “RI has gone as far as it can go with one-time revenue fixes and tinkering with existing programs. They believe it’s going to take someone willing to rock the boat more than a little and make major changes and in areas like pensions, healthcare, and education to move Rhode Island towards a prosperous and sustainable future. Laffey has never shown any fear of rocking the boat, and has ideas in all of the major policies areas. These will be major assets to a gubernatorial candidate in 2010.”
Gee, Andrew, I hope you’re right about the last part!