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Yorke, Jerzyk, and Morse Analyze RI Politics (posted Oct. 29, 2006)

Rhode Island's newest political pundits (Dan Yorke, Matt Jerzyk, and Andrew Morse) gave their assessments of Rhode Island politics on the eve of the 2006 elections. Appearing on the WJAR-TV show "10 News Conference", WPRO radio talk show host Yorke started by attacking other pundits ("none of whom I believe", he said) and then delivered his own punditry. Yorke criticized Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse for running his campaign against President George W. Bush and the national Republican party and predicted "I don't think that gets him across the finish line".

In contrast, liberal blogger Matt Jerzyk of Rhode Island's Future predicted that Whitehouse would win with 54 or 55 percent of the general election vote. "People are infuriated with high energy prices and the war", he noted and argued that they "are going to vote against Bush".

Morse, who runs the conservative blog Anchor Rising, had difficulty getting a word in edgewise between the loquacious Yorke and Jerzyk. But he pointed to the superior Republican get-out-the-vote effort and said that Chafee would have the advantage of that machine. However, he refrained from making a prediction and said "I don't think anyone can predict" the election.

When asked his prediction on the proposal to amend the constitution to allow a Harrah's/Narragansett Indian casino, Yorke demurred saying "I stopped predicting elections". But he criticized the anti-casino organization Save Our State for its "tardy" efforts and being filled with "empty suits". He said SOS has had many misteps and that its leaders "were doing their best to lose this thing".

Jerzyk criticized polls for ignoring people in urban areas who lack phones or who move frequently. He said pro-casino forces led by Harrah's were focusing its field game on urban areas and that people in those places would vote yes on the casino.

Morse argued the casino's big problem was that "people don't trust the state legislature and the way the deal was done". On the governor's race, Morse claimed that Democratic candidate Charles Fogarty "has not been as specific as he needs to be....He has got no answers."

After being wishy-washy on his casino vote prediction, Yorke suddenly found his crystal ball on the attorney-general's race. He predicted that Democrat Patrick Lynch will win by 8-10 percentage points. "He is not going to lose it," Yorke said referring to Lynch. Talking of the Republican challenger, Yorke proclaimed that "Bill Harsch is incompetent" and had made dishonest claims in his ad that he could not substantiate.

Chirping in, liberal blogger Jerzyk agreed with Yorke. "Bill Harsch is incompetent. He doesn't know how to run a campaign."