Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in RI Politics?

Friday, August 10, 2012


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Who’s Hot

Allan Fung & John Robitaille -> Everyone is buzzing about General Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras being the favorites in the 2014 Governor’s race, but the Republicans will certainly be able to put up a quality candidate as well. Mayor Fung is widely viewed as the star of the party (but would he challenge his close friend Taveras?) and Robitaille nearly pulled off a victory in 2010. If it’s a four-way race again, anything could happen.

Gary Sasse, Scott Gibbs & Marcel Valois -> Kudos to these talented individuals for putting together a proposal to revamp the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (EDC). The agency has been rightfully ridiculed thanks to the 38 Studios debacle, but there is no question that, if managed correctly, it can play a vital role in improving the economy.

Dan McKee -> The Cumberland Mayor is pushing a more efficient public safety system in his town that will result in savings by merging fire departments but will not cost anyone their job. It appears to be another smart play by a guy who looks like he may have a solid shot at Lieutenant Governor in 2014.

Libby Kimzey & Gayle Goldin -> Congrats to the two legislative candidates in Providence who picked up endorsements from Providence Mayor Angel Taveras last weekend. Kimzey is running on the same sort of platform Taveras ran on in 2010 (New Providence VS Old Providence), but it is still tough to count out John Lombardi in that race. The endorsement for Goldin may go a long way on the East Side in her Senate race against Maryellen Butke.

Donald Lally & Michael McCaffrey -> This legislative duo co-sponsored the bill that made it illegal for felons to carry body armor and it paid off in a big way this week when police arrested a Pawtucket man who had a gun, a knife and two cans of pepper spray in addition to body armor in his car.

Elizabeth Beisel -> The feel good story of the year in Rhode Island. Congrats on bringing home both silver and bronze from the Summer Olympics.

Who’s Not

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Brendan Doherty -> In the campaign gaffe of the year thus far, a Doherty volunteer attempting to do a little recognizance work was caught red handed (and on video) by the Cicilline campaign. The fact that he called from Doherty’s campaign headquarters just makes it worse.

Anthony Gemma -> It’s never a good sign when your field director quits a month before the Democratic primary. Gemma has focused almost all of his efforts on going door-to-door through the 1st Congressional District. One has to wonder what impact, if any, his field director’s departure will have moving forward.

Gina Raimondo -> It’s extreme to suggest the Treasurer is involved in some elaborate pay-for-play plot for accepting a few thousand dollars in campaign contributions from employees of companies that received state contracts, but that doesn’t make it right either. The smart play here would be to return the money just to make sure it doesn’t come up again in 2014.

William O'Brien -> The North Providence State Rep. candidate this week was caught using the same campaign language as Jimmy Carter’s grandson (a Georgia State Senator). While Mr. O’Brien may have had Jason Carter’s permission, you still have to question his decision-making skills. More importantly, kudos to whomever did the opposition research on this story.

Mike Riley -> He’s the most credible challenger Jim Langevin has ever had, but suggesting he would support Congressman Allen West for President was a slight slip up for Mr. Riley. There is a path to victory for Republicans in Rhode Island, but throwing your support behind extreme right wing politicians is not the answer.

Providence Housing Authority -> The mess at the PHA continues now that HUD is threatening to defund the agency because it appointed the chairman of the board as the interim executive director without requesting a waiver. It’s just another mistake from a board that has struggled so much recently that they want to hire an agency to help them with crisis communications.


Dan McGowan can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @danmcgowan.


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