Sen. Lincoln Chafee has been a headache to fellow Republicans over the years. He voted against President Bush in the 2004 election and opposed tax cuts and the war in Iraq.
But more than a year before the 2006 election, Republicans have pumped nearly $200,000 into television ads to protect Chafee from a more conservative challenger within his own party.
Until now, Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey has been a boon to Republicans in overwhelmingly Democratic Rhode Island. He became one of the most popular politicians in the state after taking on unions and other public officials. The state party courted him to run for lieutenant governor.
Instead, he set his sights on the Senate, frustrating his party, which is convinced the moderate Chafee is its best bet to defeat a Democrat in the general election....
Chafee is a reluctant campaigner who says fundraising is the hardest part of his job. Laffey enlists his wife and five children to position themselves on street corners in the morning to reach people as they drive to work.