In the End, Pivotal Races Tipped to Democrats
Steele spokesman Doug Heye said that with an estimated 400,000 absentee ballots still to be counted, the campaign might not cede defeat for some time. "They're basing this on exit polling, but as we've seen in the last two, four, six years, exit polling is not always accurate," he said of Cardin's victory speech. "We'd like every vote to be counted." Dan Gilgoff
Rhode Island: Moderate, Antiwar Republican Loses in Northeast
Moderate Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee, a member of one of Rhode Island's most famous political families, succumbed to a wave of discontent with the GOP and lost to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, a former attorney general in the state.
Chafee, who campaigned on having opposed the war in Iraq and not even voting for President Bush, lost by 6 percentage points, 53 percent to 47 percent. Come January, it will be the first time in three decades that Rhode Island hasn't sent a member of the Chafee family to the U.S. Senate.
Despite high approval ratings and positions well in line with the liberal Ocean State, Chafee could not overcome the "R" next to his name and defeat a well-financed Whitehouse campaign, which saw frequent support from Democratic heavyweights President Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.
"For the last two years, I've expected a very competitive race," Chafee, 53, said to the Boston Globe on Tuesday. "Rhode Island is very hard for Republicans, and this year, it's triply hard." Silla Brush
Connecticut Fourth: Moderate Shays Bucks Trend, Survives a Squeaker
Nine-term GOP incumbent Rep. Christopher Shays proved to be more durable than many expected, becoming one of the only pro-war Republicans to survive the anti-GOP trend that swept the nation Tuesday. In what had been a too-close-to-call race throughout the campaignand as of late Wednesday morning his Democratic opponent, former Westport First Selectwoman Diane Farrell, was still not concedingShays successfully drew on his historically moderate roots and close relationships in the Fourth District, where he was born and raised.
"It was an amazing political race," Shays told the Associated Press Tuesday. "We ran against a tidal wave against Republicans. I believe the people of this district have re-elected me because of what I have done in 19 years."
Farrell, who lost to Shays in a close race two years ago, built her campaign around Shays's unwavering support for the Bush administration's military intervention in Iraq. She proved an aggressive and appealing campaigner, tapping into the district's deep disapproval of President Bush and his policies and receiving copious help from national Democratic operatives.
But Shays, despite some odd forays during the campaign (at one point he referred to abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison as a "sex ring" perpetrated by National Guard troops), continued to battle, leavening his Iraq position by calling for benchmarks in anticipation of withdrawal and even following Farrell in calling for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's resignation. Long a critic of negative campaigning, Shays lashed out at his own party for blanketing the district with negative mailers targeting Farrell.