Sheldon Whitehouse is being challenged by former Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice Robert Flanders in the upcoming Senate race.

We have been covering the race for months, long before it started to gain national attention. That recent attention is a result of Whitehouse’s performance during the Kavanaugh hearings, when he earned national mockery for intensive questioning of Kavanaugh about such things as whether the term “boof” in a high school yearbook referred to a sex act or flatulence.

Whitehouse’s quest to prove that “boof” and “Devil’s Triangle” and other yearbook terms referred to sex acts has been debunked by Kavanaugh’s classmates in material submitted to the Judiciary Committee.

Flanders is making Whitehouse’s performance during the Kavanaugh hearings an issue in the campaign, issuing the following Statement supporting the Kavanaugh confirmation (emphasis added):

US Senate candidate Bob Flanders announces his support of the US Senate’s vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Saturday afternoon.

“Despite the desperate attempts by partisan, far-left Senators, including Rhode Island’s junior Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, to derail Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with false accusations of sexual misconduct, the Senate yesterday confirmed an accomplished jurist’s appointment to the US Supreme Court. This confirmation battle has highlighted the deep partisan divide that continues to pull our nation apart at the seams. Unfortunately, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse continues his ongoing attempts to exploit this divide to advance his political career and his extremist agenda. Rhode Island deserves a Senator who will respect our most venerable institutions and work with Senators from both parties, rather than re-elect a partisan bomb-thrower like Sheldon Whitehouse,” Flanders said.

I have long believed that the RI Senate Race could be the big surprise of 2018, mostly because of the local Rhode Island landscape at to Whitehouse’s personna. There are some anecdotal indications that Whitehouse is vulnerable, though he remains far ahead the only public poll taken in the race, but that was before the boofing episode.

Local radio host John DePetro has reported, and I have separately heard but not confirmed, that Whitehouse’s internal polling shows a much closer race, in the high single digits.

Flanders now is getting a lot of national attention for an ad he just released, called “Gasbag.”

Fox News reports:

The Republican candidate opposing Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in November labeled the Democrat a “gasbag” for his lengthy questioning of Justice Brett Kavanaugh on slang used in his high school yearbook.

Former Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice Bob Flanders released an ad calling Whitehouse (D-R.I.) “an embarrassment” to the Ocean State.

During Kavanaugh’s hearings, Whitehouse pressed the judge on “boofing” and “the beach week ralph club.” …

Part of Whitehouse’s interrogation is played in the ad.

“Have you boofed?” Whitehouse asked Kavanaugh, pressing him to define the term further.

“That refers to flatulence, we were 16,” Kavanaugh responded. “You want to talk about flatulence at age 16 on a yearbook page, I’m game.”

Whitehouse is then seen scowling at Kavanaugh as a narrator says “let’s elect a problem solver, not a gasbag.”

The video is starting to gain traction on social media:

This ad could do damage to Whitehouse if run heavily on local TV. Whitehouse’s performance being an embarrassment to Rhode Island could resonate.

There is a debate between Whitehouse and Flanders at 7pm on Tuesday, October 9th, on WPRI 12 in Rhode Island.

Will “Gasbag” be an issue?