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Campaign Finance Deadline: 5 Reports to Watch

Saturday, March 31, 2012


It may still be too early for Rhode Islanders to begin paying close attention to election season politics, but today is the first quarter campaign finance report filing deadline and insiders across the state will undoubtedly be watching for who's raising cash and who's falling behind.

GoLocalProv breaks down the top five reports to watch:

Congressman Cicilline

After dismal polling numbers that led the Washington Post to name him the fifth most vulnerable House incumbent, Congressman David Cicilline needs a strong quarter to show he's still very much alive in his 1st District Race. The urgency is even greater with first-time Republican candidate Brendan Doherty off to an impressive start and the threat that Democrat Anthony Gemma will likely be able self-fund a primary challenge. Cicilline has always been among one of the best fundraisers in Rhode Island, but the key issue to watch is his spending. Between polls, consultants and fundraisers, the Congressman outspent Doherty more than 3-1 last year.

Can Doherty Keep Pace?

Doherty has become an attractive candidate to national Republicans who would just love win such a traditionally blue seat, but the bulk of his campaign funds have come from Rhode Islanders so far. Will the first quarter be Doherty's coming out party for out-of-state fundraising? An impressive fundraising haul would certainly go along way to helping him recover from a poor performance on Newsmakers earlier this month.

Sheldon Whitehouse: How Much Did Biden Cost?

The State Democratic Party has indicated that Senator Whitehouse's campaign paid for Vice President Joe Biden's recent trip to Rhode Island. Will that show up on the Senator’s first quarter campaign report? Even if it does, the first-term incumbent had over $3 million in the bank at the end of 2011, more than 17 times his little known Republican challenger.

Does Hinckley Have a shot?

Speaking of the Senate race, most local analysts have dismissed the candidacy of Republican Barry Hinckley, but the first-timer claims he raised over $100,000 in the days following a YouTube video of his son explaining the economy in kid talk. Those close to the Hinckley campaign were hoping to raise about $250,000 in the first quarter and unlike Republican Doherty, Hinckley has spent most of his time recruiting donors from across the country rather than Rhode Island.

Presidential Spending

Rhode Island isn't exactly a hotbed for presidential campaign contributing, but it's worth paying attention to the amount of money being funneled to President Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee. Rhode Island overwhelmingly supported Obama in 2008, but Romney is relatively popular in the Ocean State and in 2011, he outraised the rest of the Republican candidates combined.

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