15 Rhode Island Politicians to Watch for 2014
Thursday, November 08, 2012
Election Day has come and gone and it’s already time to begin looking at 2014. GoLocalProv breaks down 15 politicians to watch over the next two years.
The General Treasurer remains one of the most popular politicians in the state and is likely to go unmatched in the fundraising department. It seems the question isn’t if she’ll announce a run for Governor; it’s when. Of course, winning as a Democrat without much support from the unions will be a difficult task, especially in an off-Presidential year primary.
A Providence Mayor hasn’t won a Governor’s race since 1950 (Dennis Roberts), but Mayor Taveras appears popular enough to potentially end that drought. There is no doubt that he is eyeing the office, but he also has the ability to cruise to re-election and finish the job of turning around the capital city.
The polls may not look good for Governor Chafee right now, but in a three-or-four-way race, it would be foolish to count him out. If the state can recover a significant portion of the 38 Studios money, he’ll look like a hero and if he’s up against Raimondo and a Republican, he’ll have all the union support he needs. Of course, there’s also plenty of speculation that he’ll receive an appointment from President Obama over the next four years.
A lot of Republicans have reason to argue that John Robitaille deserves a second shot at Governor in 2014. He’s a smart and likeable guy, but does he take a shot or step aside and allow one of the rising stars in the Republican Party to make a run?
The Cranston Mayor has plenty of options for 2014 and many believe he’d be a solid candidate for Congress, Governor, Lieutenant Governor or General Treasurer. Of course, he is considered an ally of both Treasurer Raimondo and Mayor Taveras, so he may not want to run against either of them. The open LG seat may be his best bet.
There were plenty of Republicans who felt as though Col. Doherty should have allowed John Loughlin to take a second shot at Congressman Cicilline, but he proved to be a formidable candidate and got better as the race moved along. He certainly could be a contender for Governor, but another run for Congress probably isn’t out of the question either.
The City Council President is already lining up support for Mayor in the event that Angel Taveras runs for higher office. But if Taveras stays put, watch for Solomon to strongly consider one of the open statewide seats.
The chairman of the Democratic party has patiently waited to run for a statewide office and 2014 is almost certainly when he’ll take his shot. Secretary of State appears to be the job he is eyeing and while he’ll face a primary, Pacheco would probably be the favorite.
The Warwick Mayor has always been considered a solid candidate for higher office and many believe 2014 will finally be his time. He’ll likely have to consider what Chafee, Raimondo and Fung do before making a decision, but Lieutenant Governor is certainly an option.
The Secretary of State is term-limited and is likely eyeing the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor in two years. Mollis can appeal to those who support the voter identification law, but he’ll almost certainly face a primary from the left and a solid challenge from a GOP candidate.
The Cumberland Mayor has never shied away from the idea of running for higher office and with a lot of moving pieces, he has to believe 2014 could be a prime opportunity. McKee is big on school reform and could center a Lieutenant Governor’s campaign around that issue the way Elizabeth Roberts focused on health care.
He's already running for Governor as a Democrat, but he will need to improve on his name recognition significantly over the next year before the other candidates emerge in the race. When all is said and done, there are some who believe Almonte may end up the Democratic nominee for General Treasurer in two years.
Here’s a scenario more than a few political insiders are thinking about: If Governor Chafee gets a job within the Obama administration, the term-limited Lieutenant Governor suddenly becomes the first female Governor of Rhode Island. With her solid progressive credentials, Roberts as the sitting Governor would be difficult to defeat in a Democratic primary.
The former campaign manager for Gina Raimondo just cruised to victory in his State Rep. race, but with a sizeable war chest, many believe the House seat is just a stopover for a run at Mayor of Warwick.
State Republicans will be licking their wounds for some time, but if they want to be successful in Rhode Island, they might want to build the party around this rising star. Hodgson is fiscally conservative and socially liberal and has earned the respect of his Democratic colleagues in the State Senate. If he can build on his name recognition, the Republican may be a sleeper in 2014.
If Michael Solomon runs for Mayor, the former Mayor will strongly consider running again. Buddy’s problem is that unlike in 1990 (when he won a three-way race against Andrew Annaldo and Fred Lippitt), there might not be a strong enough third candidate in the race to peal votes from Solomon.
Raimondo photo credit: Gammino Photography
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