Congressional Delegation & Candidates Name Their Favorite Rivals
Thursday, August 16, 2012
A former Republican Presidential candidate, a moderate Democratic Senator and one of the most liberal members of the House Representatives were among the names selected as favorite members of the opposite Party by Rhode Island’s federal office holders and candidates, according to an informal survey conducted by GoLocalProv.
The survey asked just one question to each of the four members of the state’s all-Democratic Congressional delegation as well as a Democratic candidate in the 1st District and three prominent Republican challengers: Who is your favorite member of the opposite Party?
Although Senator John McCain once came to Rhode Island to campaign on behalf of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s opponent in the 2006 Senate race, Whitehouse selected the former Republican Presidential candidate thanks to the work the two have done on campaign finance reform.
"I've enjoyed working with a number of my Republican colleagues on a variety of issues over the years, but most recently I had the great pleasure of traveling with John McCain to Hanoi, Vietnam, and then subsequently working with him on the issue of campaign finance,” Whitehouse said this week. “Senator McCain and I teamed up to write an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to reconsider their disastrous Citizens United decision, which unleashed a flood of unlimited and secret spending in our elections. Senator McCain has long been a champion on this issue, and it was an honor to work with him."
Whitehouse’s opponent this fall, Republican Barry Hinckley, selected someone much closer to home as his favorite rival.
“We are excited to work with Senator Jack Reed and get down to doing the people's business while getting Rhode Island back on track,” Hinckley said. “As I speak with Senators on both sides of the aisle, they equally have a great deal of respect for Senator Reed and his service to our country. Rest assured, I will be an independent voice looking out for the best interests of all Rhode Islanders; Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. My sole focus will be getting Rhode Island and America working again.”
1st District Selections
While Congressional gridlock has been a major talking point for candidates in the 2012 election, attacking the opposite party has also been a key strategy for those running for office in the Ocean State this year.
In the highly contested 1st Congressional District, both incumbent David Cicilline and his Democratic primary opponent Anthony Gemma have attempted to align Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty with the more-conservative national GOP to make the case that he isn’t going to represent the best interests of Rhode Islanders.
But while Cicilline goes after Doherty, his campaign is also quick to point to the bipartisan work the Congressman as done with North Carolina Representative Walter Jones. The two were original co-sponsors of the Afghanistan Exit and Accountability Act and Jones voted for Cicilline’s amendment to strike $375 million from the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund.
Cicilline spokesperson Nicole Kayner said the two have also worked closely on campaign finance reform issues.
“They have both cosponsored the Fair Elections Now Act and of legislation calling for a Constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision,” she said. “Congressman Cicilline is proud to work with Rep. Jones and other individuals on both sides of the aisle to find and implement real solutions for responsible campaign financing.”
Gemma’s campaign spokesman Alex Morash said that if elected, his candidate is looking forward to working with another North Carolina Republican, Sue Myrick.
“Anthony looks forward to working with GOP Representative Sue Myrick – a breast cancer survivor and co-chair of the House Cancer Caucus – in the struggle to rid the world of that dread disease,” Morash said. “Anthony is equally excited about helping to shatter congressional gridlock and return a sense of shared purpose to all his colleagues in the House of Representatives.”
Doherty meanwhile selected former Virginia Governor and now Senator Mark Warner as someone the Republican would like to work with if elected.
“Senator Warner is committed to the kind of meaningful regulatory reform necessary to create an environment in which our economy can thrive,” said Ian Prior, Doherty’s campaign manager. “Brendan is extremely impressed with Senator Warner's commitment to reducing red tape in government and cleaning out the waste, duplication, and inefficiency that is weighing this country down.”
Riley Likes Barney Frank
In the 2nd Congressional District, Congressman James Langevin said he enjoys working with Glenn “GT” Thompson of Pennsylvania. The two serve together in the Career and Technical Education Caucus.
“We work together in a bi-partisan manner to ensure that no stone goes unturned as we try to get the economy back on track and that our young people have the necessary career skills to fill the jobs that are available now and into the 21st century,” Langevin said.
Michael Riley, the Republican challenger to Langevin, selected a legendary Massachusetts liberal as his favorite member of the opposite party: Barney Frank. With Frank not seeking re-election, the two would not be able to work together if Riley were to unseat the incumbent.
“I've always appreciated Barney frank's intellectual ability and tenacity,” Riley said. “I'm not joking.”
With Congressional approval plummeting to ten percent according to a Gallup poll released earlier this week, no one is laughing. Candidates on both sides of the aisle agree that partisan bickering is a likely reason voters are so upset with Washington.
For Senator Jack Reed, the favorites game simply isn’t worth playing. Although he points to work he’s done on Wall Street fraud with Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, wasteful defense spending with New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte and the restoration of LIHEAP funding with Maine’s Olympia Snowe, the senior member of Rhode Island’s delegation refused to single out any one rival.
“I don’t play favorites, but I have great respect and admiration for many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” he said.
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