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

Friday, November 02, 2012


Who’s Hot

Brendan Doherty -> It looks as though the Republican Congressional candidate has closed the gap on Congressman David Cicilline and he got a got a boost with the endorsement of both the State FOP as well as the Providence firefighters. Doherty will still need a strong ground game on Tuesday, but it would not be shocking to see him pull off the upset in one of the country’s most Democratic districts.

Mike Riley -> If history holds true and a significant portion of undecideds break with the challenger, Mike Riley has a real opportunity to finish within ten points of veteran Congressman Jim Langevin. It still appears as though Riley will fall short (he was down 17 points in Tuesday’s WPRI poll), but a strong showing might convince him to run again in two years (he has previously said this will be his one shot at the office).

Sheldon Whitehouse -> The first-term Senator appears likely to go back to Washington after the latest WPRI poll had him up 22 points on Republican Barry Hinckley. Hinckley gained a lot of credibility with a strong debate showing (Whitehouse’s negative ad this week proved he was at least slightly concerned), but the Senator’s financial advantage and name recognition were probably too much this time around.

Gina Raimondo -> The General Treasurer has now topped $1 million in her campaign account as she gears up for what looks like a Gubernatorial run in 2014. Raimondo still faces the threat that her pension overhaul will be overturned in court and Frank Caprio proved that money isn’t everything, but those funds will certainly help clear most of the field in a Democratic primary.

National Grid -> They can’t always please everyone, but National Grid deserves a lot of credit for the work it has done following Hurricane Sandy (power across the state is expected to be restored by today). The company needed a pick-me-up after the criticism it received following Tropical Storm Irene last year and it seems to have answered the call.

Twin River & Newport Grand -> Everyone agrees that Rhode Island shouldn’t be so dependent on gambling revenue, but there hasn’t been very much opposition to the well-run campaigns to bring table games to the state’s two casinos this year. Twin River in particular ran smart commercials that focused on job creation and it seems likely voters will support the expansions this year.

President Obama -> Natural disasters are no time for politics, but the President did get a boost when one of the most powerful Republicans in the country (Chris Christie) praised him for his handling of the Hurricane. That plus the endorsement from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg means Obama clearly won the week.

Who’s Not

Lincoln Chafee -> The Governor did an excellent job getting out in front of the Hurricane and stands to benefit politically if the state can recoup its losses with the 38 Studios lawsuit, but that WPRI poll this week had to be devastating for him. With only 17.5 percent of those polled saying they would support his re-election bid, Chafee is going to need several big wins over the next few years if he wants another four years in office.

Mary Ann Shallcross Smith -> In one of the ugliest General Assembly races of the year, the Democrat-turned-Independent may now face a lawsuit from Republican Matt Guerra, who claims her negative ads have gone too far. While many of her attacks were fair game, Shallcross Smith crossed the line by trying to suggest Guerra had some sort of inappropriate relationship (she cites Twitter messages) with students in Lincoln.

Wells Fargo -> While there are many names and accusations in the 38 Studios lawsuit, the one that jumps out is Wells Fargo, which is accused of making $500,000 from 38 Studios at the same time that the company was supposed to advise the EDC on the dangers of the deal. A spokesman for the company did not return multiple requests for comment.

West Warwick Town Council -> The clock is ticking for the cash-strapped city to address its deficit, but the Council did not vote again on a proposal this week (they do have elections to worry about, after all). Most Council members appear reluctant to take on the unions, but don’t be surprised if the state ends up intervening.

Craig Price -> Here’s hoping the state sticks to its guns when it comes to this convicted murderer’s appeal. This is a guy who deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison.


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


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