NEW: GOP Leader Michael Napolitano Joins Block Campaign
Monday, January 06, 2014
"Ken Block is very lucky to have [Napolitano] on board," said Representative Doreen Costa (R) of RI's 31st District. "I've known Mike for several years, and he would be an asset to anybody's campaign. When he puts his mind to something, he gives 100 percent."
Napolitano currently serves as Chairman of the Lincoln Republican Town Committee, and previously served as communications director and press secretary for John Robitaille's 2010 campaign for Governor, as well as spokesman for John Loughlin's Congressional campaign while he was in Iraq. He currently serves as communications director for the RIGOP and is also on the Executive Board and several committees.
"Rhode Island is tied for the nation's highest unemployment rate and 49th for business climate due to years of Democrat control," said Napolitano. "We need a Governor who is going to tirelessly work to turn this state around."
"Ken Block has been a crusader on everything from eliminating the Master Lever to the 38 Studios disaster to exposing waste and fraud in our state's Medicaid and food stamp programs. His comprehensive plans to attract new job-creating businesses and save a billion dollars in wasteful state spending show beyond doubt that he is the person to turn our state around. I am very excited to be given this opportunity to work with the first class campaign team he is putting together."
His roles with the Block campaign will include assisting in outreach to Republicans throughout the state, providing strategic advice and overseeing multiple campaign activities.
"With key Republican leaders like Tony Bucci heading up fundraising and Mike Napolitano organizing critical grassroots operations, the momentum of our campaign is clearly accelerating," said Block.
Related Slideshow: 10 Questions Block Has to Answer When Running for Gov of RI
10. Can Block convince voters he is more than a third party player?
To win in the GOP primary, Block is going to need to convince GOP primary voters that his ideals align with the fundamental beliefs of the Republican Party.
He did get a political gift. As GoLocalProv reported - Blocks opponent in the GOP primary, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung has been a consistent donor for a decade to many of the top Democrats in the Party.
Both Block and Fung will be challenged to explain their GOP credentials.
9. Is Block too much of a techno-candidate?
Block, the founder of a software company, love to talk about technology solutions to public policy problems. He is going to have to define his solutions to problems in a tangible way. Often, voters connect to simple themes, "Hope and Change" or from "Head Start to Harvard."
Block is going to need to be able to show he can connect to all Rhode Islanders - we are a retail political state.
8. Can Block raise money?
Block has demonstrated he is serious about running - he has already invested $500,000 of his own money to win the GOP primary, but he will need an estimated $3 million to win the primary and General Election next November.
To date, his fundraising base has been small and while Fung is no Gina Raimondo in fundraising, he does have a modest Republican fundraising base.
7. Will Block defend the behavior of National Republicans?
If 15 months from now Ted Cruz works tirelessly to close the federal government over the implementation of Obamacare, will GOP Governor Ken Block speak out on the issue?
Will Block praise or criticize Cruz? In the primary, conservative voters may want him to praise Cruz and in the General election, the majority of voters may want him to condemn Cruz.
6. Can Block attract RI GOP leaders?
A few weeks ago Fung announced an advisory group of prominent Republicans. The announcement gave Fung's efforts some momentum. Block would pick up a lot of credibility if he were to peel some Fung supporters over to his team.
In addition, a number of leading Republicans have yet to make an announcement - if they break to Block it may create momentum.
5. Can Block connect with voters in the General Election?
Assuming Block beat Fung in a GOP primary and went on to face a progressive Democrat like Providence Mayor Angel Taveras or rising star Clay Pell, can Block work the Greek Festival in Cranston or the Scituate Art Festival as well as these Democrats?
Will undecided voters connect to Block?
4. Will Block's lack of previous elected office help or hinder?
It can be argued that never having been elected before could be perceived as a negative.
Sure, Governor Don Carcieri was never previously elected to office and Governor Bruce Sundlun had only been elected to the state's Constitutional Congress, but voters may want to be sure that Block will know a federal emergency declaration from a new software version - or will each new storm be deemed Sandy 2.0 and so on.
3. Is Block the smartest guy in the room?
Make no mistake about it, Block is smart. Business smart, policy smart, but could he be too smart and then not be able to connect to voters.
Bill Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar (so was Gina Raimondo), but one thing about Bill Clinton was that he could play the role of a good ol' boy as good as anyone. He could make any voter feel right at home.
Block will need to channel his intelligence into a language and approach that connects to the CEO he is asking to support his effort as equally as asking a unemployed mom in Pawtucket.
2. How will he handle the plethora of special interests?
This time Block will have to answer the questionnaire from the FOP, the Right-to-Life groups, the Environment Council, MADD, the Teamsters, The Northern RI Chamber of Commerce, NEA-RI, arts advocacy groups, the NAACP, and you get the picture.
Consistency will matter. One group's endorsement will spark another groups condemnation. Mr. Block, welcome to the 2014 governor's race.
1. Can he handle the hot lights?
The one thing about being the third or fourth candidate in a race is people remember the smart things you said, but don't pay much attention to the dumb things you said. Heck, you really didn't have a real chance to win so the assessment is not very stringent.
This time will be different. He needs to run not one but two nearly flawless races to be the next Governor of Rhode Island. His effort in 2010 will help him, but this time he has a real chance to win and the stakes are much higher
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