So who should conservatives support? Many have commented that losing the Senate seat wouldn't be much of a loss. Chafee, after all, voted against Alito and didn't even vote for President Bush in the 2004 election. What difference would a Democrat in his seat make?
I'm not so sure. In many ways, the most important vote a Senator makes in any term is the first: which party slate for leadership do I join. Chafee votes, in this vote, as Republican as any other Republican Senator. And that vote determines every committee chairmanship, that Republicans get a majority of every committee, and a whole host of other benefits that come from being the majority party.
This is not an easy call.