NEW: Former Town GOP Chair Endorses Block over Fung’s Dem Support
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Hirons, who told GoLocal that he resigned from the Chairman position last month to focus on "other things, including the General Assembly," said that in 2012 he was approached by a Republican Town Council candidate who asked why Fung had given to a Democratic Town Councll candidate, Suzy Alba.
"I asked the Mayor, and was told it was because he know [Alba] from before," said Hirons. "We're an at-large Council in Smithfield. I expect that those in leadership positions in the party are going to support their own candidates, not the opposition."
Hirons said that he was approached by Fung for his endorsement, but declined. "I met with [Block] this week, and frankly I think he's putting together a team of higher quality than Fung's. I think Block has laid out a lot of specifics that make him the stronger candidate. I think this race will very much be focused on financial issues," said Hirons.
Fung Camp Responds
In November, GoLocal reported that Republican Fung had given thousands in contributions to Democratic candidates. Fung campaign spokesperson Patrick Sweeney said of the donations, "As counsel for MetLife, the Mayor attended democratic events in which he donated to individual candidates on behalf of his client." Fung was elected as Mayor of Cranston in 2008.
Sweeney told GoLocal, "In regards to the contribution to Ms. Alba, Mayor Fung gave her a small contribution because he considers a her friend, not because of her stand on any issues. In general, the Fung campaign is very happy with the level of overwhelming support it has from grass roots Republicans. We are not surprised that there will be a few Republicans who support Mr. Block. There were also a few Republicans who supported President Obama in 2012, the candidate Mr. Block supported in 2012."
10 Questions Fung Has to Answer When Running for Gov of RI
10) Can Fung raise the money necessary to be competitive?
At the last reporting period, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung's campaign had only $336,000.
Ken Block had $540,000 and he just entered the race.
Democrat Gina Raimondo has over $2.3 million and even Angel Taveras has $759,000 cash on hand.
9) Is Fung ready for prime time?
Fung is well-liked in Cranston and most everyone thinks Fung is a "nice guy."
Gina Raimondo and Angel Taveras can claim they took on tough issues.
Ken Block articulates big ideas and a proven record in business, but out of the gate Fung's campaign seems less than ready.
Fung's campaign manager got confused about how many Democrats Fung has donated to and his motivation for donating to them.
Would another four years in Cranston be the wiser path?
8) Can Fung effectively run against Angel Taveras?
Fung claims Providence Mayor Angel Taveras as a close friend, but it raises questions about inherent personal conflicts and ability to run and effective race.
Politics in Rhode Island is often a blood sport, will Fung approve that knockout punch TV spot in the closing weeks that tags Taveras for the spiraling crime problem in Providence?
7) Is Fung's base big enough?
For Mayor Fung, his base is Cranston, but he does not enjoy a groundswell of Hispanic voters like Providence Mayor Angel Taveras hopes to bank on (7% of the voters were Hispanic in the General Election in 2012, according to Pew Research).
A race against Raimondo would be tough as she would very likely have a strong block of female voters.
Where does Fung get his votes?
6) Can Fung defend the tax increases in Cranston?
When Fung runs as a Republican against a Democrat, there is an advantage if Fung can point out a differentiation of fiscal discipline. Fung, as Mayor, had numerous and significant residential and commercial tax increases.
This will not help him against the fiscally prudent Ken Block, but even if he were to win the primary then he would lose the advantage against Angel Taveras in a General Election. Both have ushered large tax increases through their councils.
5) Why pledge to create "20,000 jobs"? It sounds like Don Carcieri.
Don't know if Fung was paying attention, but GOP Governor Don Carcieri ran on...creating 20,000 new jobs.
When Carcieri left office, Rhode Island had the worst unemployment in America. Not sure Fung wants to mirror that Carcieri pledge.
4) Defending Don Carcieri and making him a part of the campaign - is that a good idea?
The collapse of 38 Studios has scarred Don Carcieri's legacy as Governor of Rhode Island. At best, Carcieri was star struck to give a baseball player $75 million -- at worse, Carcieri was part of something far more ominous.
For Fung, who wants to run as the future of Rhode Island, why be associated with Don Carcieri?
3) Defending the lobbyist role?
In 2014, do we think Rhode Islanders will be looking for a former lobbyist for a large corporation that is cutting Rhode Islander's jobs to be our next Governor?
Lobbyist-turned-Governor will be tougher to pull off than actor Ronald Reagan-turned-Governor of California in the 1960's.
2) Understand the changing position on gay marriage?
Hard to know what Allan Fung's position is on gay marriage. At different times he offered a range of views.
Some GOP primary voters have been opposed to the RI law and others were supportive, but neither segment of the GOP may understand what his position was -- or is.
1) Political donations to local, federal and national Democrats - are you sure you are a Republican?
Fung has given to David Cicilline, US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, former RI Senate President Bill Irons and once RI Attorney General Patrick Lynch. Fung's campaign manager claims he was a lobbyist and needed to donate to Democratic leaders. Cicilline, Reid and Lynch meet none of those criteria.
Not only did Fung give thousands of his own dollars to Dems, he turned down requests from leading GOP candidates like John Robitalle and Jon Loughlin who were badly outspent and needed every dollar to win.
The Republican party in Rhode Island is a pretty small group trying to create a pretty big tent - from Scott Avedisian to Doreen Costa. For most Republicans in this state it is tough -- you don't enjoy the political connections and you're part of a tiny minority -- so loyalty matters.
- NEW: Top Fung Supporter Quits and Joins Block
- Cranston Mayor Allan Fung: 13 To Watch in RI in 2013
- Does Carcieri’s 38 Studios Legacy Hurt Fung?
- Don Roach: Allan Fung Needs to be RI’s Next Governor
- BREAKING: Block, First GOP Candidate Comes Out for DePetro’s Firing
- 10 Questions Block Has to Answer When Running for Gov of RI
- Ken Block to Run for Rhode Island Governor as Republican
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