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RI GOP Committeeman and GA Candidate Frias Refuses to Comment on Trump

Saturday, July 09, 2016


Donald Trump

Rhode Island General Assembly candidate and GOP National Committeeman Steve Frias is continuing to refuse comment on presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump, with the national convention just a week from Monday.

"If you want to quote me, you can say Steve Frias is focused on the race for the State House and not the White House," Frias told GoLocalProv.com on Friday, despite being a governing member of the political committee of the country's Grand Old Party.

On Friday, Frias refused to answer what he thought about Trump or if Trump was the best candidate for the party. 

Frias refused to answer what he agreed with Trump on, and which positions he disagreed on with the national party's leading Presidential candidate.

"I will support the GOP nominee," said Frias, who said he expects it will be...Trump. 

No Comment as Committeeman

Frias, who was elected Republican National Committeeman from Rhode Island in 2012, announced his intention in June to run for District 15 in the Rhode Island House -- which is current House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello's district in Cranston.

The National Committee provides national leadership for the Republican Party in the country - it is responsible for developing and promoting the Republican political platform, as well as coordinating fundraising and election strategy. It is also responsible for organizing and running the Republican National Convention. There is one Committeeman and one Committeewoman for each state. 

Steve Frias

Frias outlined a number of his positions at his campaign launch -- but despite being Rhode Island's national committeeman, had nothing to say about the party's new standard bearer when asked on Friday.  

"I'll be in Cleveland for four days," said Frias of the upcoming COP convention. "It won't be an issue with my campaign. I've knocked on 500 doors so far, and I'm planning on getting to walk my entire district. I'd say I'm 1/8 to 1/10 of my way there."

Frias is Former Scott Walker Supporter

Frias had previously publicly supported Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's eyeing the White House -- as reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in January 2015

“He’s kind of folksy and laid back, which is very appealing to a lot of Midwestern Republicans,” said Frias of Walker at the time.  “You can deliver a great speech, but what Republicans want right now are people with some courage, some principles and people who have gotten results.”

Walker dropped out of the race in September 2015; he "begrudgingly" endorsed Trump this week -- according to The Week.

Frias' GOP primary opponent Shawna Lawton -- who is not a party player on the national stage -- removed herself as well from the national presidential discussion.

"I am running for the House of Representatives in Rhode Island. Not for president. I want to keep people focused on the fact that I am here to represent their district in the state of Rhode Island," said Lawton on Friday.


Related Slideshow: Trump’s National Advisers with RI Ties

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Ken McKay

Chief of staff to former Rhode Island Governor Don Carcieri, McKay has woven a trail of key GOP appointments for himself that have led him to his latest position, when he was brought on board the Trump campaign in April as one of his top advisers. 

McKay was former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s chief of staff, and was the Political Director at the Republican Governors Association’s under Chris Christie’s chairmanship -- and was a key Christie consultant this presidential cycle until the the NJ Governor stepped down and threw his support behind Trump.

“McKay’s a huge asset for Trump. He’s got both the national ties, and he’s got the inside the beltway relationships that Trump doesn’t have,” said Rhode Island political operative Jeff Britt. “McKay’s well liked and well-respected in a way that Trump isn’t, and I think that will have an effect.”

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Jim Murphy

A recent shake up in the Trump campaign has been the hiring of veteran operative Jim Murphy as its political director — who had served as advisor to former Rhode Island House Minority leader Brad Gorham when he ran unsuccessfully for Attorney General in 1990.  

Murphy has worked with other presidential candidates including Bob Dole and Mitt Romney, and is the former president of the Republican PR and lobby shop DCI Group.

Gorham's son Nick, who is a former state representative, remembers Murphy’s involvement in the race. Brad Gorham passed away in 2015. 

"Jim Murphy was a nice guy who helped my dad, but it was a tough year for Republicans, which is non unusual for RI," said Gorham.  

Photo: LinkedIn

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Paul Manafort

Trump's now top campaign strategist has GOP ties to Rhode Island, having been a top campaign aide for former Rhode Island Governor Ed DiPrete in the 1980s.

Politico mentioned Manafort's DiPrete connection when he joined forces with the presumptive GOP nominee in April; Manafort's presence on the national stage has been well documented.

"For Trump, who has cast himself as an outsider to the Republican Party firmament, there could hardly be a less outsider-y pick than his new hire. Manafort was uniquely predisposed to become an insider in Republican politics: His father, for whom he was named, served as mayor for three terms in New Britain, Conn. When the elder Paul Manafort died in 2013, his obituary noted that he had served as a delegate or alternate delegate at past Republican national conventions," wrote Rebecca Berg for RealClearPolitics.com.

Another DiPrete operative — Marc Palazzo — had been named in the press as having had recent conversations with Manafort, but Palazzo told GoLocal he is not involved with the campaign in any capacity.


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