2018 RI Governor’s Race Playbook - May 7, 2018
Monday, May 07, 2018
Each week in 2018, the Governor's Race Playbook breaks down the wins, the losses, the X-factors, and who has the momentum.
No one had a better week than Governor Gina Raimondo -- she reported record fundraising numbers and had good news on economic development. She had some bumps too. All of it was dwarfed by Giovanni Feroce's personal and business chaos tied to a judge's body attachment order, which by legal definition is a civil arrest.
SEE THE WEEKLY PLAYBOOK FOR EACH CANDIDATE BELOW
The Democratic Governor's Association issued a press release criticizing GOP candidate Allan Fung for accepting donations from a leading gun lobbying group, maybe not realizing Raimondo had accepted multiple donations from the same group's registered lobbyist.
"One month after 17 high school students were killed and 17 more were injured in the devastating shooting at Parkland High School, Mayor Allan Fung accepted a max-out donation from the Rhode Island Second Amendment PAC, an organization dedicated to blocking common-sense gun safety reform," said the DGA press release.
GoLocal broke the story that Raimondo has accepted thousands from former Speaker of the House Bill Murphy -- the lobbyist for the same gun group.
Governor Gina Raimondo is claiming she has not and will not accept campaign donations from gun lobbyists, but state records are clear that she has received donations from one of the most influential lobbyists who represent gun interests.
“Governor Raimondo has never and will never accept a dime from the gun lobby. She signed the bill that takes guns away from abusers and wants to ban military-style weapons and high capacity magazines. She’ll work with any willing partner to make that happen,” David Ortiz, Raimondo’s press secretary told GoLocal in an email on Monday.
When Ortiz was forwarded information about multiple donations from former Democratic Speaker of the House William Murphy, who lobbies for the RI 2nd Amendment Coalition/NRA State Association by GoLocal, Ortiz stopped responding to repeated follow-up questions, including whether Raimondo would return the donations.
According to Rhode Island campaign finance reports, Murphy, who at the time was the registered lobbyist for the NRA affiliate, made two donations totaling $500 in 2014, donated $500 to Raimondo on September 28, 2016, and then followed up with a $350 donation on October 1, 2017. Murphy has given a total of four donations totaling $1,350 to Raimondo while lobbying for gun interests.
The oxygen was sucked out of the room by the chaotic campaign of GOP hopeful Giovanni Feroce, who was tagged with another embarrassing incident tied to his failed Benrus company.
A company sought a body attachment -- which is a civil arrest -- on Feroce for failing to make an $8,000 payment. First, Feroce attacked the media. Then, he said he did not owe the money. Finally, he entered into a payment plan with the court to pay off the debt. Feroce is facing a number of other lawsuits, including a near million claim by the NFL's Buffalo Bills.
Related Slideshow: 2018 Governor’s Race Playbook - May 7, 2018
Gina Raimondo (D)
Big fundraising number announced - a record $1.4M.
Improved business rankings by CEO magazine.
Silly Democratic Governor's Association attack on Fung may be an indicator that Raimondo's own polling shows this race to be a toss-up.
X-Factor: RI Revenue Conference may dictate the budget situation -- a danger zone for Raimondo.
Matt Brown (D)
Campaign hustles across the state.
A tough week for Brown - his fundraising numbers were dismal and his cash on hand is anemic -- just $25,000.
X-Factor: Early signs are that Brown is going to be trouble for Raimondo. She may have the money, but he may be the one meeting with likely Democratic primary voters.
At the outset looked like a one issue candidate -- he is one of the leading opponents of the proposed gas-powered energy plant in Burrillville -- but has shown to have a wide grasp on a range of issues.
Fundraising base is limited -- even to run an outsider campaign.
X-Factors: Can he expand his base?
Spencer Dickinson (D)
Taking on the role of an advocate for the retired teachers. Could give him a small base.
Need to raises his awareness - otherwise will get drowned out by Matt Brown. Has little campaign infrastructure.
X-Factors: He has a strong reputation as an honest broker. Need to get the word out -- more social media, more press.
Allan Fung (R)
Not spectacular, but solid fundraising numbers -- $191,000.
The best sign of the success of his campaign is that both Democrat Raimondo and GOP opponent Patricia Morgan are attacking him...regularly.
Democratic Governors Association hit Fung on owning Waste Management stock simultaneously to Cranston having a contract with the company. Seems like a stretch, but is the DGA setting up a messaging strategy.
X-Factor: Needs to shake Morgan and a deeply damaged Feroce. If he has to push right over and over again, it will create problems in the general. Must avoid Trumps ties.
Patricia Morgan (R)
Fundraising was better than 4th quarter in 2017. In the 1st quarter of 2018, Morgan raised $76,000 and lent her campaign $25,000 for a total of $101,000. Far better than the $29,000 the preceding quarter. Better, but good enough?
Separated from Fung by calling for Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello's resignation. Both candidates released economic plans this week to little differentiation.
The campaign is herky-jerky. Advertising campaign lacks focus. Social media game missing.
X-Factor: Her base is made up of core Republicans and small business people. Need to build on her base to attract more voters, but talk radio is a small world.
Giovanni Feroce (R)
Not applicable this week
Fundraising first quarter was just $500.
Feroce became the punchline to more jokes this week. More court actions over unpaid bills and legal actions by former business partners seem endless.
X-Factor: The big question is, can he build any credibility beyond is base of supporters?
Luis Daniel Muñoz (I)
Not applicable this week
When he announced for governor Munoz looked like an intriguing candidate. But, it seemed to start and end there. Raised less than $500. Might want to rethink this campaign and look to take on Congressman Jim Langevin running as a Republican. Munoz is smart and has a great resume.
X-Factor: Has not Tweeted in over a week -- to his 220 followers.
Joe Trillo (I)
Announced he would self-fund. Could capture double digits in the general if he spends some money and captures some Trump voters.
Needs to prove he is really in it to win it, otherwise, he looks more and more like a Fung-hater.
X-Factor: Will he criticize Raimondo, Speaker Nick Mattiello, and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio?