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slides: Election Preview 2014: Who’s Running for What

Friday, May 17, 2013


Rhode Island 2014. Who will be on the ballot - and who can win?

The 2014 election cycle is starting to heat up in Rhode Island, as some candidates have already declared their intentions to run for statewide office seats -- while speculation still swirls around others.

Today, GoLocal takes a look at the latest developments, talks with local political experts -- and parses some of the potential contenders in a slide show below.

Almonte Changes Mind

Former state Auditor General Ernie Almonte, who announced Thursday he was looking to run for General Treasure in 2014, after previously indicating that he was looking at the Governor's office, had the following to say regarding his move to GoLocal on Thursday.

"There's a saying, 'You can't learn how to swim on the beach.' I've been out there this past year all across the state, talking with people, hearing what people are saying, and I'm listening -- I'm a good listener, I've been married 30 years -- and I make all my decisions basked on logic."

"I feel of course I'd be a strong gubernatorial candidate as well, I can work with a wide range of people," said Almonte.   "So many people told me though, "Ernie, with your financial background, education, ethics -- all of your skill sets point to the Treasurer's office."

Wendy Schiller, Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Brown University: "Things are Still Premature Right Now"

"I think we'll know more by the fall where things stand, this is still a bit premature to speculate on anything right now," said Schiller.  "We're in a holding pattern more than anything."

"I think something to watch, and to count even, are the number of statewide appearances potential candidates start to make. That's a sure indication that they're teeing something up. I know that it's been noted that [City of Providence Mayor Angel] Taveras has been particularly "active" as of late."

"As far as [General Treasurer Gina] Raimondo, I'm surprised we haven't heard -- or seen -- more of that type of activity to date. I think her camp should be concerned because she's giving the impression the General Treasurer seat is open, without yet formerly declaring she's running for Governor."

"Regarding Almonte's move to run for State Treasurer, I'm not surprised. I think it's a smart move on his part -- he looked at the possible gubernatorial field and decided his chances were better in the Treasurer's race. I know Caprio's announced, but I'm not positive he'll actually end up running. We shall see."

Maureen Moakley, Professor of Political Science, URI: "2014 Should be a Fun Election Cycle"

"With term limits now, we have political musical chairs, so to speak," Moakely told GoLocal.  "With a small [federal] delegation, those with aspirations for a high public office often look to the top statewide seats as being more feasible."

"Right now, candidates are sizing up the fields. Look, while all contenders are in it to win it, there are those that realize they're a longshot, and are just looking to get in the mix.  A lot is going to depend on who declares for Governor, that will really determine then who goes for the other seats."

"I think Chafee still goes as an Independent, there's no advantage to his siding with the Dems right now, as speculation might indicate. I wouldn't be surprised however to see 20 minutes after the election, whether he wins or loses, that he officially goes "D", as that's where his politics really lean. And if he loses -- look out for an ambassadorship."

"2014 should be a fun election cycle. Lots of interesting dynamics at play."

Victor Profughi, Adjunct Professor and Former Director of the Bureau of Government Research and Services at Rhode Island College: "The Republicans Don't Exactly Have a Bumper Crop"

"Scott (Avedisian) always played it very wisely over the years. He's had other opportunities to consider statewide office, and he hasn't gone there," said Profughi. "He's got a good thing going in Warwick, a good track record there. Actually, I'd be surprised to see him go for higher office, quite frankly."

"The problem with mayors is that your record tends to catch up with you, so to speak. Take Fung for example, who's been playing his cards close to his vest. He's been a pretty effective mayor, but he's also taken a lot of heat from Democrats. He's a viable gubernatorial candidate though. Let's face it, the state Republicans don't exactly have a bumper crop."

"Don't be surprised to see the Secretary of State Democratic primary go deeper. City Councilor Hassett, [Senator] Jamie Doyle...Juan Pichardo could be real contender if he chooses to run."

"Block's indicated he'd be inclined for another run for Governor, but only if he has a serious chance of winning. Without him or another serious "fourth" party candidate, Chafee's chances of reelection drop steeply in a three-way race. The pie's not cut up the same, and I see him having a hard time constructing a coalition to win this time around if that ends up being the case."

See Slide Show of Current Contenders


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