Don Roach: It’s Doherty or Bust for Rhode Island
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
David Cicilline has emerged from the primary as strong as he’s ever been. His main opponent, Brendan Doherty, held a double digit lead back in may but according to Cicilline and Democratic pollsters, the former mayor now holds the double digit lead over Doherty.
What the heck happened between now and then?
It’s been equal parts Cicilline machine, Gemma ineptitude, and Doherty silence. Cicilline apologized for his part in Providence’s financial situation albeit a year and a half later. I’ve written previously about the forgiving nature of Rhode Island voters and Cicilline needed to apologize and his timing earlier this year is pretty good. There was enough time for it to cycle through the news and it was far enough away from the primary to blunt its potentially negative impact on his campaign.
Not that he needed to worry all that much during the primary as Anthony Gemma was probably the best opponent for Cicilline. Gemma didn’t know how to campaign effectively as in compelling actual voters to vote for him. Nor did he dent Cicilline’s image. On the contrary, he probably helped Cicilline best by throwing out accusations to this day appear more fiction than fact. I’m very disappointed he didn’t expose Cicilline’s faults and give him a much more difficult race. I’m completely flabbergasted that he actually helped Cicilline gain some momentum. Thankfully, the Gemma experience is behind us and I doubt he’ll ever make a serious run at any political office again.
And then there’s Doherty’s relative silence throughout the summer. If you’ve got a double digit lead, it’s understandable why he didn’t want to enter the fracas. It’s also understandable that he didn’t want to in any way associate with Gemma due to Gemma’s aforementioned ineptitude. By remaining under the radar, he allowed Cicilline to define many terms in this race and definitely get a jump start on the fall campaign.
Certainly, it’s not over for Doherty and he has come out swinging over the last two weeks with ads, press releases, and the like. He’ll need to continue to hit Cicilline where it hurts, seniors. Seniors are going to be critical in this race. Cicilline is trying to use scare tactics while Doherty is talking about solutions. Sounds cliché, but Cicilline is trying to scare the electorate that if you elect a Republican you’re going to lose your Social Security. Doherty is a moderate Republican and a Republican who is clearly concerned about seniors.
Doherty must find a way to define the debate and not allow Cicilline’s recent poll numbers to take him off message. If this race is about who’s better for Rhode Island, Doherty wins going away. However, if it’s about who’s the better politician, Cicilline wins every time. But let’s not make like Cicilline is the best politician not named Bill Clinton. Doherty has many strong talking points and has the money to get his message to voters.
As voters, it’s up to us to tell Cicilline that skirting the truth is unacceptable and that we want something more. If we vote Cicilline back into office this fall, then any politician who has ever told us a lie so that he could win an election is emboldened to do so again. We need to say no to such notions and vote for Brendan Doherty. Period. End of Story.
Don Roach is a member of the RI Young Republicans. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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