Most Expensive General Assembly Races
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Rhode Island lawmakers earn just over $14,000 annually, but that hasn’t stopped incumbents and candidates from both sides of the aisle from pouring tens of thousands of dollars into their campaigns this year.
So who’s spending the most money?
With a month to go before the November election, GoLocalProv breaks down the most expensive General Assembly races.
House District 23 – Joe Shekarchi (D), John Falkowski (R)
In the race to replace veteran Rep. Robert Flaherty, Shekarchi, who served as General Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s campaign manager in 2010, raised nearly $55,000 between July 1 and Oct. 8 (he loaned himself $20,000), spending just over $8,900. Shekarchi’s contributors include Raimondo’s husband (Andrew Moffit) and former Providence Mayor Joe Paolino, who each gave max-out $1,000 donations. Meanwhile, Falkowski has spent $8,390 since throwing his hat in the ring. Most of the Republican’s spending is related to advertising and fundraising.
House District 44 - Gregory Costantino (D), James Archer (R)
For the first time since 2003, District 44 won’t be represented by Democrat Peter Petrarca, who rose to become a part of Speaker Gordon Fox’s leadership team before Costantino cruised to a 60-40 victory in September’s primary. Now Costantino, who spent $36,110.72 between July 1 and Oct. 8, takes on Archer, who has spent just under $2,000 on the race. But Costantino’s money advantage (most of his spending came against Petrarca) doesn’t mean Archer should be counted out in what is considered a relatively conservative district. In 2010, Petrarca defeated Republican Jen Hirons by less than seven percentage points.
Senate District 26 – Frank Lombardi (D), Sean Gately (R)
In another race that does not include an incumbent, Lombardi has spent just under $35,000 since July 1 (Lombardi easily won his Democratic primary) while Gately (who had no primary) has spent nearly $3,200 since April. Gately, who came close to knocking off retiring Senator Bea Lanzi in 2010, has been highly critical of Lombardi’s tenure on the Cranston School Committee, tying him to the father/daughter dance controversy and criticizing him for being unwilling to privatize school bus services.
Senate District 13 - M. Teresa Paiva Weed (D), Geoffrey William Cook (R)
The Senate President is in no trouble in her District, so much of the $29,763.35 she has spent since July 1 has gone toward campaign contributions (including $5,000 to the State Democratic Party) and fundraising. Cook, who lost to Paiva Weed by 32 points in 2010, did not spend anything between July and Oct. 8 and his only campaign contributions came from the State GOP ($750), the East Bay Republicans ($230) and well-known Republican Martha Stamp ($20).
Senate District 4 - Dominick Ruggerio (D), Mike Rollins (L), John Ricottilli (I)
The Senate Majority Leader, who came under fire earlier this year when he was arrested for drunk driving, is probably in the same boat as Paiva Weed, but unlike the Senate President, a significant chunk of the $29,429.20 he spent since July went toward his campaign. Ruggerio’s largest expense was $16,000 worth of advertising from Lamar. His two opponents have not filed campaign finance reports this year.
House District 4 Gordon Fox (D), Mark Binder (I)
In a race that is suddenly drawing a lot of attention, the House Speaker has spent roughly $25,000 since July. Much of that money went to other candidates and is unrelated to his campaign, but Fox recently hired consultant Bill Fischer and has spent a considerable amount on local advertising. Meanwhile, Binder burst onto the scene by hiring veteran political operative Jeff Britt as his campaign manager late last month and has been highly critical of Fox’s connection to the failed 38 Studios deal. The Independent candidate reported raising $4,125 since July, which includes $1,000 contributions from Britt and State Rep (and Fox opponent) Spencer Dickinson as well as $900 from Peter Kerwin, who is serving as his spokesman.
Senate District 27 – Hanna Gallo (D), Robert Lancia (R), Aram Garabedian (I)
The incumbent Gallo has a difficult re-election race on her hands and has spent over $16,500 since July. Most of her funds have gone toward advertising expenses, rent for her campaign office and office supplies, according to a report filed this week. Meanwhile, Lancia, reported spending just over $8,300 between July and October, mostly on advertising. The wild card in the race is Garabedian, the owner of the Warwick Mall. While he had not filed a finance report as of this story, records show the former State Rep, Senator and Cranston Councilman has loaned himself over $247,000 to fund his campaigns since 2002.
Senate District 33 – Glen Shibley (R), Lou Raptakis (D)
Shibley, a first-term Senator who is considered popular within his district, spent just over $7,250 since July and will likely shell out thousands more over the final month if he wants to hold off challenger Lou Raptakis. The former Senator (he stepped away to run for Secretary of State on 2010) spent almost $17,000 since July, mostly on advertising, printing and consulting. Raptakis may have also benefited from having a Democratic primary, which allowed him to maintain his name recognition despite being out of office.