By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
GOP challengers are now saying that the House seat held by Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) may encounter the same fate as the long-held Senate seat of his father, Senator Edward Kennedy, which was lost last week to a Republican for the first time since 1972.
IrishCentral.com is reporting that Congressman Patrick Kennedy is in real danger of losing his seat to John Loughlin, a Republican state representative who has already raised more money than any candidate before him who challenged Kennedy.
“In this cycle, with a good candidate like we have with John Loughlin, the national scene shifting away from Kennedy-type politics, and independent voters looking for options, I think he’s incredibly vulnerable,” said the state’s GOP chairman, Giovanni Cicione.
Loughlin has raised $230,000, only half of the $545,000 Kennedy has in his coffers, but if the race gets close enough, the national Republican and Democratic committees are expected to become involved.
“We need to put the money back into the hands of Rhode Islanders,” Loughlin says, striking the same populist tone that won the coveted Massachusetts Senate seat for conservative Scott Brown last week.
Rep. Kennedy, who has a history of drugs and alcohol problems and who admits to being bipolar, made national headlines in 2009 for publicly criticizing the Church’s stance on abortion. His statements earned a rebuke from Rhode Island bishop Thomas Tobin who asked him to refrain from receiving communion due to his refusal to repent of his pro-abortion position.
Patrick Kennedy has been elected eight times and insiders refuse to believe he’ll have any trouble being elected again.
“The people in that district know him. They trust him,” said Bill Lynch, chairman of the state’s Democratic party. “They’re aware of the problems he’s had. He’s dealt with that in a candid way.”
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