Lynch's Prospects

Patrick Lynch, the outgoing attorney general, has been touting his $415,000 war chest and suggesting that another run at elected office may be in the offing.

The money is not inconsiderable. And Lynch has a fire in the belly that, if properly channeled, could have some appeal. 

But there are considerable hurdles to a Lynch candidacy:

  • His friendship with ethically challenged Central Falls Mayor Charles Moreau - which required him to recuse himself from the investigation of the mayor - has proved an embarrassment. And the case against Moreau figures to linger for some time.
  • His brother Bill's last-place finish in the Democratic primary for Congress suggests a less-than-potent Blackstone Valley base for the Pawtucket clan.
  • Lynch secured some important labor endorsements in his aborted primary battle with Frank Caprio. But some in the movement consider him a less-than-dogged ally as attorney general.
  • His attempt to appeal to progressive Democrats in the primary fell flat - against a conservative like Caprio, no less - suggesting an uphill fight for a key constituency in any future run.

Of course, Lynch's run from the left was never a natural fit for a pol who has called himself a "Blue Dog Democrat," in the mold of Southern moderates.

But a move to the middle can spell trouble in a Democratic primary. And were he able to get out of a Democratic primary for, say, governor in 2014, his ability to eat into Chafee's base on the left would depend, in no small part, on the governor-elect's performance over the next four years.

What Lynch has seen thus far on that front can't be heartening. Early indications are that Chafee will be quite responsive to progressive concerns on gay marriage, immigration, and the like. And running in the middle - squeezed between Chafee on the left and a Republican on the right - is no easy thing, as Caprio learned this fall.

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