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Friday, April 01, 2005

Rhode Island 2006 Democratic Party Primary for U.S. Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

Providence Journal:

PROVIDENCE -- Rhode Island's former attorney general and U.S. Attorney Sheldon Whitehouse advised close family and friends earlier this week that he has decided to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Lincoln D. Chafee.

Barring the unexpected, Whitehouse's long-anticipated entry into the closely watched Senate race guarantees the spectacle of a two-man fight for the Democratic nomination to take on Chafee in November 2006.

A formal announcement by the 49-year-old Whitehouse is expected Monday, but he signaled his decision in a series of e-mails in which he foresaw that U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy would pull himself out of the running before the week was out.

Facing a potentially costly primary contest against Secretary of State Matthew Brown, the only announced Democratic candidate for Chafee's Senate seat so far, Whitehouse also took the occasion to state the obvious: "I will have to become a fundraising demon in the new quarter, which will bring you expensive requests for contributions, contacts and so forth."

This sounds a lot like Pennsylvania, almost sounds like a pattern...

Party Bosses back a candidate who lost a Primary campaign for his state's top job:

In 1998, [Whitehouse] beat out two Democratic competitors to become the state's attorney general, but did not survive a three-way primary when he ran for governor four years later. He trailed former state Sen. Myrth York by 926 votes, with then-Rep. Antonio Pires placing a distant third.

Candidate hires top-dollar consultants:

Whitehouse advised these supporters on Tuesday he had already opened a campaign account and hired well-known Washington political consultant Mike Donilon. [...]

When asked whether the Washington-based Donilon, a top adviser to Sen. John F. Kerry's presidential campaign who also worked on the Rhode Island campaigns of U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline, was already on the Whitehouse campaign payroll, Preston said: "Mike would be part of any Whitehouse campaign team."

(Preston said the Rhode Island race would be one of two high-profile races for Donilon, who has also signed on to work for the reelection of one of the national GOP's top Democratic targets in '06, freshman Florida Sen. Bill Nelson.)

Campaign uses other elected officials to strong-arm and force out any other Democrats (so candidate doesn't lose like he he did in gubernatorial primary):

Without formally announcing, Whitehouse already has the backing of many in the state's political elite, including Kennedy and Langevin, who have both publicly urged the 35-year-old Brown, who is midway through his first term in office, to get out of the race. [...]

Brown campaign spokesman Matt Burgess said the secretary of state has no intention of leaving the race, and "looks forward to a thorough and thoughtful discussion of how to best solve the problems people in Rhode Island are facing everyday."

Burgess also sought to minimize the significance of Whitehouse's high-wattage political backing, saying: "This race is going to be decided by people in Rhode Island -- not a handful of political insiders and politicians. It just doesn't work that way anymore."

The State Democratic Party comes out against democracy:

But state Democratic Party Chairman William Lynch said: "It's never a good thing to have primaries."

Never. As is in democratic primaries are not ever good; on no occasion; at no time; under no circumstances. Letting the People participate in democracy is never a good thing.

Posted at 05:18 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island | Technorati


In Puerto Rico, candidates for the general election face primaries on the Election day one year before the General election. For example, candidates for governor had their primaries on November of 2003 (even though both candidates ran unopposed). I wonder how feasible it would be to run a similar system, with primaries one year before the general, allowing the candidate one full year to fundraise and recover from any bruising primaries.

Posted by: Falcon4e [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 1, 2005 09:07 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Calendars are set state-by-state, but primaries are good and should be supported.

Posted by: Bob Brigham [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 2, 2005 12:41 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Clear the field, or contest the primary? I wrote something about this today in response to this post.


Posted by: politicalmammal [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 2, 2005 01:53 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Having an instant runoff system of election (which has been instituted at the local level and has some grassroots momentum to expand it) would in some ways mean the general election and primary would become rolled into one.

In Louisiana, which uses runoff elections whenever no candidate gets an absolute majority (not "instant" runoff) it seems in the couple of elections I've followed, that several candidates run from the opposition party; the first round general election then serves as a primary of sorts.

Given this, I'm not sure if they have done away with the primary process altogether or still hold it ... it seems to me a party ought to pick its candidate before the election and there be more than 2 parties on the ballot if need be.

Posted by: mcittone [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 2, 2005 11:59 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment