What’s next for Steve Laffey?

With a forthcoming book about his senatorial campaign, he looms as a prospective gubernatorial candidate in 2010
By IAN DONNIS  |  May 31, 2007
HIS STORY: Laffey’s book will give him a chance to reframe the narrative of his primary loss to Chafee.

Can you imagine Steve Laffey — a tireless self-promoter and all-around media hog — not returning a phone call from a reporter? It’s hard to believe, but true.
The outgoing former Cranston mayor’s uncharacteristic lack of communication for this story speaks to how the opportunity for his next political campaign is still a long way out. But make no mistake: Laffey, who adopted a very low profile after being defeated by Lincoln Chafee in last September’s US Senate primary, is reemerging on Rhode Island’s political scene, positioning himself for a likely gubernatorial run in 2010.
Laffey, a member of the local steering committee for Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign, has been turning up at GOP events in recent months, including a May 24 joint fundraiser of the South Kingstown and Narragansett Republican town committees. Even more significantly, after being stunned by his eight-point loss to Chafee last fall, the preternaturally confident Laffey is poised to get a two-fer with the scheduled publication in September of Primary Mistake: How the Washington Republican Establishment Lost Everything in 2006 (and Sabotaged my Senatorial Campaign).
The book will offer the erstwhile rising star renewed national exposure (his publisher, Sentinel, an imprint of Penguin, focuses on conservative authors). Laffey diehards are said to view it “very much as a nationally significant partisan prospectus.”
“According to one operative in the conservative wing of the party, the mayor has been very shrewd not to burn many local bridges in his book as his gaze becomes fixed on the governor’s office,” says a local Republican. “Instead of the local cast of characters you might expect outed, look for [former Republican National Committee chairman] Ken Mehlman, [former White House chief of staff] Andy Card, and the NRSC [National Republican Senatorial Committee] to be singled out as sacrificing principles for party. And what would any, ahem, great contemporary political opus be without a reference to Karl Rove?”
Just as significantly, Primary Mistake will allow Laffey to reframe the narrative of a calculated gambit in which his reach exceeded his grasp. As put by Sentinel, which won’t make advance copies available until August, Primary Mistake is an insightful account “of the ultimate David vs. Goliath campaign, and an important analysis of how the party of Reagan lost its way. With his straight talk and quirky sense of humor, Laffey will inspire Republicans to stand firm in their convictions in future campaign[s].”

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  Topics: News Features , U.S. Government, U.S. State Government, The Club for Growth,  More more >
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