Not surprisingly, The Providence Journal has endorsed Lincoln Chafee, citing as one main reason a factor similar to the one I described when I was interviewed by NPR and they asked why I thought many Rhode Islanders were still undecided about the Senate race: because Chafee has brought us many dollars, and losing his tenured position in the Senate will likely reduce those dollars in the short-term. The long-term payoff of switching to Sheldon Whitehouse is obvious to many of us, but not to everyone. Generally, people have a hard time with delayed gratification, and as the saying goes, a bird in the hand is worth two Bushes more than a Whitehouse. You know what I mean.
But ultimately it seems that the Projo endorsements have little impact. They endorsed Aram Garabedian for Mayor of Cranston back in 2002, for example, and yet people chose the fresh and promising face of Steve Laffey. Now they are endorsing the “status quo” candidate again, but my feeling is that this will have little impact. The poor performance of our Republican-controlled Congress has led many people to make up their minds already, and the polls say that Rhode Island is ready to let go of the Chafee legacy.