GOP President Debate Coverage: Who Are RIers Supporting?
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Republican Party Chairman Ken McKay, House Minority Brian Newberry and Providence GOP Chairwoman Tara Pinsky all say they aren’t yet ready to attach their name to a particular candidate, but they are paying attention and they want the candidate that can offer the best challenge to the President in the General Election.
Costa Supports Bachman
But not all Rhode Island Republicans are withholding judgment. Freshman State Rep. Doreen Costa was in the debate hall at St. Anselm College supporting Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachman. Following the debate, she joined a couple dozen Ocean State residents that made the trek up to New Hampshire at a local pub to celebrate Bachman’s performance.
Costa has been voicing her enthusiasm for Bachman on Facebook for weeks now and got exactly what she wanted just a few minutes into the debate. The first time Bachman spoke, it was to formally announce her candidacy for President.
Hinckley Intrigued With Cain
Republican Senate candidate Barry Hinckley said he isn’t quite ready to support a certain candidate yet, but he did offer words of praise for Herman Cain, the African-America former Chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza.
In a text message to GoLocalProv about the candidates, Hinckley said, “Still learning where they stand, but I’m very intrigued with Herman Cain and he’s the first candidate I’ve donated to. He’s a tax reformer and a business man, two things I focus on. I find him very genuine, forthright, experienced and intelligent.”
Others Still Deciding
But other Republicans say it’s too soon to make a decision. Newberry told GoLocalProv he’s committed to supporting a candidate that can beat Obama. He acknowledged the possibility that not everyone on stage last night may fit that description, but said because of his role as Minority Leader, he’ll withhold judgment for the time being.
Pinsky maintains that she too is willing to support anyone that can defeat the President.
“I am waiting and watching,” Pinsky said. “All I know for certain, I want someone who can beat Obama, I don't really care which Republican, I will wholeheartedly back anyone willing to be the leader we need.”
Give Me Another Jack Kemp
Former candidate for Mayor of Providence Jon Scott said he isn’t totally inspired by any candidate that has thrown their hat into the ring yet. He said he’s concerned he might not find the candidate that meets all of his needs.
Scott said he wants a candidate that isn’t obsessed with being a candidate, but rather someone that is commitment to solving the country’s most-pressing problems.
“We are in dark times and I'm hoping for a Statesman,” Scott said. “I’m looking for someone who is not driven by polling data or by the need to change their positions in order to boost their volunteer ranks or bolster their bank account. I'm looking for someone who believes that America can be great again and knows that our greatness comes from our working folks. I'm looking for someone who isn't manufactured and someone who is reluctant, rather than someone who believes that they deserve to be President.”
GoLocalProv MINDSETTER writers Donna Perry and Don Roach said they are also uncertain of whom to support this early in the political season. Prior to the debate, Perry said she would like to Bachman develop more as a candidate.
“Truthfully I am not too enthusiastic yet about the current crop—although I would like to see more fire from Michele Bachmann and would consider getting behind her candidacy as she develops more of her platform,” Perry said.
Roach, on the other hand, put it simple: He might not have picked a horse in the race yet, but he knows who he isn’t supporting.
“Just not [Sarah] Palin or [Mitt] Romney,” he said in an e-mail.
The wait-and-see approach from most Rhode Island Republicans might be because they’re waiting to see which candidate can get out the vote in the Ocean State, according to Quest Research Pollster Victor Profughi.
Profughi said “almost no one votes” in Republican primaries in Rhode Island. In 2008, barely 27,000 votes were cast in the primary.
Profughi predicted the race will come down to organization and said Costa’s choice might be out in front at this point.
“It really will depend on who will be best organized to identify voters and get them out to vote, plus who the candidates will be by the time the primary rolls around,” he said. “The Tea Party contingent and their supporters are likely to be the best organized right now, hence the contingent going to New Hampshire.”
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