Wednesday, September 13, 2006

# Posted 8:03 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

CHAFEE HOLDS ON: Liz Mair has been live-blogging the GOP senate primary in Rhode Island. Her latest dispatch is from Chafee's victory speech. I'm happy with the outcome and so is Liz, who writes that this is
A victory for the big tent and for moderate Republicans against the ultra-conservative Club for Growth machine.
With extensive support from the national party, Chafee was able to hold the line with 54%.

But what do the numbers mean in a race with such a small electorate and so many outside interests pouring in? That isn't just a rhetorical question. Perhaps someone has looked at the significance of such races, since there always seem to be a few of them every campaign season.

I read in the WaPo this morning that there were 63,000 ballots cast in the GOP primary, far and away a record for Rhode Island. Is it possible to draw lessons from a sample that small? In addition, I have to admit I'm not terribly comfortable with the idea of an electorate that size deciding the outcome of a nomination for the US Senate.

Then again, a handful of voters that isn't much larger pretty much gets to pick the president in Iowa and New Hampshire. Ah, federalism.
(3) opinions -- Add your opinion

GOP will be saying yay we still love moderates but, the reason LC won is because RI has a pretty moderate GOP base, unlike say SC.

This is not indicative of any national GOP feelings.
63000 is a very large turn out for RI Reeps - they are a small minority in a state with a 1,000,000 population.
The problem for Republicans is that they put in literally every GOTV resource east of the Mississippi River into this race. And they still barely won. Do you think they'll be able to put all those resources into every single race in November? Of course not. If anything, this race shows how little the GOTV effort might help Republicans in the end. The tide is too strong.
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