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I don’t know what kind of bug the Club for Growth has up its ass but I sure hope it stays there.  It seems they have decided that the boogeyman responsible for spiraling government spending is…Lincoln "Puddles" Chafee.  From the new series of Chafee attack ads they’re financing:

Lincoln Chafee? / He voted for $1.3 trillion in higher taxes. / Higher income taxes and capital gains taxes. / Chafee’s one of the Senate’s biggest spenders. / He even backed $200 million for that “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska. / Tell Lincoln Chafee he’s too liberal with your taxes. 

That’s right, it’s all Lincoln Chafee’s fault.  In between bouts of crying in the Senate bathroom because of all the mean things that BushCo. makes him do and being too spineless to actually vote his conscience on anything that matters, he takes time out to orchestrate the vast, profligate spending of your tax dollars.  I mean I think it’s great…I love seeing the guy get hammered…but WTF?

Not to be outdone, Focus on the Family has taken out a series of ads attacking Chafee for his position on gay marriage. Now Rhode Island is a solidly progressive state, so one might think this was some fiendish GOP plot to secure Chafee’s credentials as a progressive in possibly the most vulnerable Republican Senate seat in the 2006 election, but that does not seem to be the way it’s working out.

According to a poll financed by the Club for Growth that was released yesterday, the net effect seems to be that he is now in a statistical dead heat with his conservative opponent Steve Laffey.  The poll concludes:

Given undecided voters’ image ratings of both candidates, Chaffee is close to his ceiling. He will likely top out at 48%, and Laffey would win the race if it were held today by 52%-48%. 

According to the latest Rasmussen poll (May 4), Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse and Chafee are  neck and neck.  But if it were a race between Laffey and Whitehouse?  

Chafee’s Primary Election challenger, Mayor Laffey,  trails Whitehouse by 19 percentage points, 51% to 32%. If Laffey wins the Republican Primary, this Senate seat is very likely to shift from the GOP to the Democrat’s column. 

I don’t really know what their thinking is on all of this, and I’m not going to turn into a GOP concern troll and give them advice, but there’s a reason you don’t see me bitching about the odious Bob Casey much these days.  Chafee may still prevail over Laffey, but the negative ads being run against him are sure to bloody him in the process and soften him up in a race against Whitehouse.

They seem to value a notch in their belt over any kind of SOP GOP hegemony come November, according to Chris Cilizza:

Many believe the Rhode Island Senate primary between Sen. Lincoln Chafee and Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey, whom the Club has endorsed, is the best chance the organization has ever had to topple an incumbent. The two men will face off in a Sept. 12 primary.

Booyah. 

(Note:  All this comes via Rhode Island Future, my one-stop-shopping for Chafee news these days.)