Next Tuesday will determine whether a former Morgan Keegan president and chief operating officer of Memphis' Morgan Keegan brokerage firm keeps alive his hopes of representing Rhode Island in the U.S. Senate. The hopeful is Republican primary candidate Stephen Laffey, now serving as the mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island, and running as a hard-right conservative against the moderate GOP incumbent, Lincoln Chafee. Laffey, who began as an executive with Morgan Keegan in 1992, departed his perch at the top of the Memphis firm in 2001 as the result of what The Commercial Appeal then called a "shift in power" and what a Rhode Island paper this week called "a palace revolt."
Among several controversial circumstances imputed to Laffey by his political foes are an alleged theft of documents belonging to one of Laffey's prior firms and anti-gay statements made by Laffey as an undergraduate journalist at Bowdoin College, where he penned such statements as these: "All the homosexuals I've seen are sickly and decrepit, their eyes devoid of life;" and (referring to pop singer Boy George's hit, "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?") "I want to punch you lights out, pal, and break your rribs."