Chafee bolts; Gudrais departs; GOP reaches out

Politics + media
By IAN DONNIS  |  September 19, 2007

Despite his characteristic candor, Linc Chafee remains a somewhat enigmatic figure.
If the Republican Party has moved too far to the right for his taste, as he said in explaining his recent decision to disaffiliate from the party, it’s not like this is a new development.
Chafee was an uncomfortable member of the national GOP well before the election that cost him his seat last year. Yet Chafee seemed constitutionally incapable of leaving the Republican Party while serving in the seat that he basically inherited from his late father. After flirting with a change around the time of Jim Jeffords’s departure from the GOP, Chafee pretty much ruled it out while in office.
So why go now?
Perhaps it presages a run for mayor of Providence — even though he used his Exeter, rather than his Providence address, to make the affiliation change. While the Chafee name goes a long way in transcending partisan labels in Rhode Island, Linc would be a more palatable mayoral candidate as an independent than as a Republican.
Then again, it could be that Chafee will remain ensconced at Brown for years to come, and that being free of the hurly-burly of politics gave him the final push to do something that he was unwilling to do as a sitting senator.

Elizabeth Gudrais, the talented State House reporter for the ProJo, recently left the paper to take a job as the associate editor of Harvard Magazine.
The move out of daily journalism seems somewhat unusual for Gudrais, a 28-year-old up-and-comer with strong academic and newspaper credentials. Yet the 2001 Harvard grad calls the new gig “a dream job for me, a charmed life, the opportunity to write about anything and everything at the university . . . I would say that whatever else I was considering for my future, this was sort of the trump card.”
Gudrais says her decision to take the job at the magazine, which boasts a circulation in excess of 200,000, was influenced both by the troubled state of the newspaper industry and by the match between her interests and the intellectual opportunities at Harvard. She had freelanced for the magazine since interning there in college, so the decision to leave the ProJo was “more a function of the job at the magazine coming open.”
In the past, young rising stars from the ProJo have gone to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other more prominent newspapers.
Gudrais’s departure comes after another State House scribe, Scott Mayerowitz, left earlier this year, for a job with ABC News, and was replaced by Steve Peoples. Watch for Gudrais’s post to be filled closer to the start of the new legislative session in January.

The Rhode Island Republican Party has hired Lammis J. Vargas as a staff assistant. The GOP hopes that Vargas, who is of Colombian descent, will expand its presence in immigrant communities around the state, while making additional outreach efforts. Still, the tendency of local Latinos to align with Democrats suggests a continued uphill battle for the GOP in this area.

Material in this story was first posted

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