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Cicilline’s Comeback: Top Stories in RI in 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012

 

He began the year with Nixonian-level approval ratings, his former city on the brink of bankruptcy and political observers across the state questioning whether he should bother running for re-election.

By the end of the year, Congressman David Cicilline had been re-elected in a landslide and promoted to the House Budget Committee, proving once and for all that he is in a class of his own when it comes to Rhode Island politics.

In some ways, Cicilline’s resurgence should come as no surprise. The Congressman has always had the reputation of being a tireless campaigner and he’s no stranger to long odds (remember, when he announced his plans to run for Mayor of Providence in February 2002, Buddy Cianci’s approval rating was 63 percent).

But even his closest allies were concerned that a Democratic primary against bomb-throwing businessman Anthony Gemma could soften him up in a race against Republican Brendan Doherty, the squeaky-clean former head of the State Police.

But Cicilline apologized for mischaracterizing the financial condition of the capital city in his waning days as Mayor, built a little momentum and then out-worked his opponents to pick up double-digit victories in both the primary and general election.

Now the Congressman still finds himself in the minority party in Washington, but with conventional wisdom suggesting the best chance to defeat an incumbent is after his first term, he has the opportunity to put together a strong career as a liberal leader in the House of Representatives.

 

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