Chafee Helping RI Republicans


I’m guessing the title is coming as a surprise, especially because Chafee is hailed as a hero by the state’s progressives and unions.  So how is he helping the Rhode Island Republicans?   By simply being in the race as an independent.

Rhode Island is one of the few states who allows straight ticket voting.  This allows a voter to make one mark on the ballot that will cast a vote for every candidate running with that party.   In the last gubernatorial election, 61,357 votes were cast for all Democrats on the ballot and 18,424 were cast for all Republicans on the ballot.  Nearly a 43,000 vote difference.  All partisan races on the ballot receive those votes, whether the voter has any idea who those candidates are, or if they would not have voted for that person anyway.

Back to Chafee.  The former Republican and now independent Chafee has been the darling of the left.  Many think that Frank Caprio, the official candidate of the Democratic party, is too conservative to be a “true” Democrat.  He’s a Republican-lite.  DINO.

In a normal election, many Democrats would simply connect the line for the Democratic ticket and cast all those votes.  However this time, many of those Democrats won’t want to vote for Caprio and won’t connect that straight ticket line but instead, connect the Chafee line.  If the voter doesn’t continue down the ballot and connect more lines, those downballot candidates will miss out on the “free votes” that they would get in a normal year.  Thus, the big advantage that Democrats have at the ballot box in this state might be tempered this year.

In doing a quick analysis of 2006, at least two General Assembly races were possibly swung by this straight ticket difference.  If we remove that advantage this year and downballot Democratic candidates aren’t getting these votes, we could see a couple Republican General Assembly candidates edge out a win.

Now wouldn’t that be nice if some Republicans can look at Lincoln Chafee on November 5th and say “thank you”?


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