Malcolm `Mac” Farmer III was once one of Providence’s best known Republicans, a city council member with a sharp eye for financial and legal issues. A prominent lawyer, Farmer was a staunch moderate and supporter of civil rights who was a well-regarded voice of reason on a council riven by ethnic and partisan grandstanding . He is the husband of Susan Farmer, a Republican who in 1982 became the first women elected to statewide office in Rhode Island when she won as secretary of state.
Now, Mac Farmer has been lending a hand to Angel Taveras, the Providence mayor and Democrat who has been organizing a campaign for governor. In a recent e-mail message, Farmer urged citizens to contribute to the Taveras campaign, saying ``I am proud to lend my support to a leader of this caliber and encourage you to do the same by donating to the mayor’s campaign.’’
Farmer’s advocacy of Taveras can’t be good news for Gov. Lincoln Chafee. The Chafee and Farmer families have historically been close. And Susan Farmer gave Linc Chafee’s nominating speech before the state Republican Convention in 2006 when he faced a bitter primary challenge for his U.S. Senate seat from Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey. If such pillars of the Yankee establishment as Mac Farmer are on board with Taveras, what are Chafee’s reelection prospects?