March 2nd, 2012 at 10:34 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes
Governor Chafee offered his thoughts about U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe’s abrupt retirement announcement here on Wednesday. But WPRI.com wasn’t the only organization that sought out his reaction.
Here’s what the governor told Bloomberg News:
Ten senators – seven Democrats and three Republicans – say they won’t face voters again in November, the largest number of elected senators eschewing re-election since 13 decided to forgo new terms in 1996.
“The Senate must not be any fun anymore,” said Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, who served for seven years as a Republican senator and was defeated in 2006.
“Each cycle weeds out more and more moderate Republicans,” said Chafee, now a political independent and a member of President Barack Obama’s re-election committee.
And here’s what he said to The New York Times:
“Senator Snowe wants to focus on bringing down the deficit and getting the economy on track, and that’s where the priorities should be,” said Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, another moderate who served with Ms. Snowe in the Senate before leaving the Republican Party.
• Related: Chafee: Olympia Snowe’s retirement says a lot about DC, GOP (Feb. 29)
February 29th, 2012 at 2:46 pm by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
Snowe with John Chafee, right, in 1996
When Gov. Lincoln Chafee became a Republican U.S. senator in 1999, he ate lunch each week with four other GOP moderates: Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, Jim Jeffords of Vermont and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. They called themselves “the Mod Squad.”
In 2001, Jeffords left the party to caucus with the Democrats. In 2006, Chafee lost his seat to Sheldon Whitehouse after a primary challenge from the right. In 2009, Specter switched parties and went on to lose his first Democratic primary. And on Tuesday, Snowe shocked Washington by announcing her retirement.
“Of the five members of the ‘Mod Squad,’ soon only one will remain a U.S. senator, and that says a great deal about the ways in which Washington and the Republican Party have changed,” Chafee told WPRI.com in a statement. The last remaining member is Collins, who was re-elected in 2008.
Snowe said Tuesday she had been planning to run again in November and thought she would win. “However, what I have had to consider is how productive an additional term would be,” she said. “Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term.”
February 6th, 2012 at 6:00 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
The latest Gallup polling is a mixed bag for those on Rhode Island’s political left.
President Obama’s job approval rating among Rhode Islanders slipped below the crucial halfway mark in 2011, with 49.2% approving and 39% disapproving of the way he’s “handing his job as president.”
Obama’s approval rating in Rhode Island has declined steadily since he took office, starting at 66.6% back in 2009, then dropping to 55.1% in 2010 and now 49.2% in 2011. The president won 63% of the vote here against John McCain in 2008.
Rhode Island and Washington were the only two states where Obama dipped under 50% last year. His approval rating was six points higher – 55% – in neighboring Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Gallup’s surveying also found the Democratic Party’s dominance continuing in Rhode Island despite a decline in the number of liberals.
The share of Rhode Islanders who describe themselves as liberals fell to 24.7% in 2011, down from 29.3% in 2010, while the share of moderates rose 3 points to 38.8% and the share of conservatives rose 2 points to 31.8%, according to Gallup. Rhode Island was the most liberal state in the first half of 2010, but was only the 8th most-liberal last year.
When it comes to the two parties, 47.8% of Rhode Islanders leaned Democratic in 2011, basically unchanged from the prior year, and 27.5% leaned Republican, a slight dip from 29.2% in 2010. Hawaii was the only state more Democratic than Rhode Island.