So here's the deal in Rhode Island.
1. They have 2 Senators (yeah I know it seems like too many, but it's in the Constitution...)
2. One of them is Republican Linc Chafee; probably the most moderate Republican Senator he has been endorsed by NARAL and most unions. He votes with the Democrats quite a bit, and some have suspected that he will eventually pull a Jeffords and go Independent.
3. The RNC knows that he is the only Republican this side of Lieberman who can actually hold onto this seat. Rhode Island is not, surprise surprise, a Republican stronghold; Chafee's popularity is the only thing that keeps this from being the easiest Dem pick-up since...since...well let's not get into that.
4. Cranston (evidently it's a city) Mayor Steven Laffey is running against Chafee (no their names don't rhyme) in the Republican primary. Laffey is running as a "true" conservative and it turns out that there are some real Republicans in Rhode Island; or at least enough for Laffey to give Chafee a run for his money in the primary.
5. If Laffey wins the GOP primary he will lose badly to the Democratic nominee. If Chafee wins the GOP primary he could still hold onto his seat (although I wouldn't bet on it).
6. The RNC and the NRSC (National Repub Senatorial Cmte.) are in the awkward position, and one that some of the more conservative GOP donors are very uncomfortable with, of attacking the conservative and putting lots and lots of money behind the much more liberal Chafee.
7. This is a good thing for the Democratic Party.
8. The NRSC has spent over $180,000 defending Chafee
. Money that they could have spent in defense of vulnerable incumbents/open seats in Tennessee, or Missouri, or Pennsylvania, or Ohio, or Montana...
9. That's a lot of money.
10. I love Rhode Island.