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

Friday, July 20, 2012


Who’s Hot

Angel Taveras -> Convincing RISD to more than double its payment in lieu of taxes to the city is yet another big win for a guy who seems to improve his prospects for 2014 every day. Something interesting to watch: Will Taveras’ popularity give him complete control over the City Council for the next two years? For ambitious Council members hoping to run for higher office, a Taveras endorsement could go a long way.

Barry Hinckley -> One thing the Republican Senate candidate accomplished this week with his criticism of the DISCLOSE act: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is now paying a little more attention to his re-election race. At the same time, when Hinckley correctly points out that most voters don’t care about campaign finance reform, it’s also worth noting that they probably don’t care about him calling press conferences to say that voters don’t care about campaign finance reform.

Bill Fischer -> As RIPR first reported, the veteran PR flack has been retained as a communications consultant by the state’s Democratic Party. It’s a smart move for the party, which, if this week is any indicator, is going to have to spend an inordinate amount of time defending Congressman Cicilline in his bid for re-election this fall.

Brendan Doherty -> If that 66-page opposition research book is all the Democrats have on the Republican Congressional candidate, then Brendan Doherty is in good shape. People won’t remember a bad interview on Newsmakers. They won’t watch the debates. And suddenly that early effort to brand him as the candidate with “uncommon integrity” is looking like an impressive strategy.

Governor Chafee -> Governor Chafee is going to face a tough re-election battle in 2014, but he does have plenty to hang his hat on: He’s got all of the municipal leaders on video praising him for fighting for cities and towns (including Angel Taveras). He can tout himself as the guy who warned Rhode Island about 38 Studios. And now, he’s made a lot of women happy for increasing female representation in government.

JetBlue -> Great to hear this excellent airline is coming to T.F. Green. Let’s just hope the state ends up with more than just Florida flights in the long run.

Who’s Not

EDC -> The worst thing about all these stories about the EDC screwing up is that the next business that needs a little boost is going to be the one that loses out. Because every deal is going to be compared to 38 Studios or Capco Steel, one has to wonder if there is any chance this agency can recover and, you know, help develop the economy.

David Cicilline -> The Congressman may have dodged a bullet with the city averting bankruptcy, but one has to wonder if issues like the PEDP loan disaster will become an issue Anthony Gemma or Brendan Doherty can really rub in his face. On the issues, Cicilline will be tough to beat. But if his opponents can make the race about Providence, they certainly have a shot.

Peter Petrarca -> There’s an interesting race brewing for the Rep. seat in District 44. Peter Petraca, who wants to be the next Majority Leader if and when Finance Chairman Helio Melo becomes Speaker, is in real danger of losing to businessman Greg Costantino. Petrarca is not particularly popular in his district (he won by less than seven points in 2010) and the Johnston Democratic Town Committee didn’t even endorse him this time around.

Leo Medina -> Speaking of a Rep. who is in trouble, if Rep. Medina can win re-election after multiple accusations of him ripping people in South Providence off, two things ought to happen: 1) His district should no longer be allowed to vote; and 2) He should run for Governor.

Dan Gordon -> The House of Representatives won’t be as fun next year without Robert Watson and Dan Gordon yelling on the floor. Rep. Gordon failed to qualify for the ballot and after briefly mulling a write-in campaign, has decided to move on. The sad thing is, this means that despite never holding public office, his opponent gets to slide into the General Assembly without a challenge.

Providence College -> Now that RISD has reached an agreement to make larger payments the city, Providence College is the only holdout of the major nonprofits. And no, Ricky Ledo’s autograph and courtside seats for the Mayor’s staff isn’t going to work.


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



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Thats if Ricky Ledo qualifies!!

Comment #1 by louis rizzo on 2012 07 20

I CANNOT wait to pull the lever against Petrarca. He's my rep. I've contacted him a number of times and he has not called me back one time. He can't go soon enough.

Comment #2 by John D Revelator on 2012 07 20

You did not include in your NOT HOT List the name of Sheldon Whitehouse..
He is a disgrace to RI ..He is self serving to himself, certainly not too his RI constituents.....

Comment #3 by dis gusted on 2012 07 20

Fischer hired by the Dem's as spokesman. What a shocker that is. I think thats the fastest press release he has ever gotten out. Things are definitely looking up for the GOP in RI.

Comment #4 by Blais Hazelwood on 2012 07 20

I hope the voters of RI are remembering to vote out their incumbents...Put in new people with new ideas...
They can't be worse than the self serving lawmakers
in there now who allowed for scams like Studio 38 and the International Institute for sport to flourish...
People, vote out your current lawmakers. Do the right thing.
To change the way the state does business, you have to get
rid of the current lawmakers who allow it.
Get rid of the leadership--Paiv Weed-Fox, Helio Melo, Nick Mattiello, an...these are the ones who call the shots-
except for Melo, the rest are lawyers ....need I say more?

Comment #5 by dis gusted on 2012 07 20

Thank goodness Dan McGowan now does the Who's hot column. The days of Jerzyk putting Chickachini in the hot spot every single week are over. Amen!

Comment #6 by Blais Hazelwood on 2012 07 20

pertrarca is a self serving , angry man .
remember the gun incident outside his downtown bar where he accidentally discharged
the gun in his pocket . and , the behind the scenes promotion regarding the autoshop bill. he was recused from voting , but went to all reps to strongarm their votes .
enough is enough with this guy .if he is voted in again, good luck with that .

Comment #7 by vin coia on 2012 07 20

When you go to vote in November remember this:

-The RI General Assembly has been controlled by Democrats for over 70 years. Currently they control roughly 92% of the General Assembly.
-Our 4 seats in Washington are controlled by Democrats and this November David Cicilline, Sheldon Whitehouse and James Langevin are up for re-election.
The Democrats have ruled in RI for a very long time and where has it gotten us?

1. Number 50 for business- DEAD LAST
2. Number 2 for unemployment
3. A D- for transparency
4. 3rd worse bridges in America
5. 6th worst for property tax administration
7 7th highest for cost per pupil spending
8. 7th worst state to retire
9. 47th on the small business survival index
10. 7th worst state on the housing misery index
11. 3rd highest debt per capita

I could go on and on as there are many more categories we rank at or near the bottom. This is the Democrat report card. With almost TOTAL Democrat representation in RI across the board they deserve full credit for why we are doing so poorly. How do we make major changes in RI this November?

1. Vote for Republican candidates for the RI General Assembly and support balance in our legislature so that new ideas can see the light of day.
2. Vote for Barry Hinckley for US Senate, Brendan Doherty for Congress in District 1,and Michael Riley for Congress in District 2.

It is time to realize that putting the same Democrat team on the field year after year has given RI its record of poor performance. They have no excuses given they control RI and our representation in Washington. How are you judged on your job performance?

Comment #8 by Michael Napolitano on 2012 07 20

cicilline tough to beat? he only got in congress with 37 percent of the vote in a 4 way race lol

Gemma has got him this time!

Comment #9 by anthony sionni on 2012 07 20

Not with the campaign strategy (or lack there of) that is currently playing out. When you run for office you don't surround yourself with yes men/women. It's candidates who know that staffs are hired to lead the candidate not follow the candidate that win elections. DC as much as I loath him hires professional campaigners, listens to his staff, learns from them and takes direction that leads to victory. Here's hoping someone will beat him! Vote ABC Anyone But Cicilline.

Comment #10 by Blais Hazelwood on 2012 07 20

Fischer hired by the Dem's as spokesman. What a shocker that is. I think thats the fastest press release he has ever gotten out. Things are definitely looking up for the GOP in RI.

Comment #11 by Blais Hazelwood on 2012 07 20

Has anyone seen/heard from Gemma? Looks like Cicilline will be the winner in this primary! Gemma seems to have disappeared!

Comment #12 by Janet Jones on 2012 07 20

My guess he is in the campaign office. A place very few elected officials usually spend time in. Someone tell this man to hire a real staff to teach him these things.

Comment #13 by Blais Hazelwood on 2012 07 20

The Democrat insiders must be soiling there pants over the prospects that David Cicilline is going down.

Fisher is the best. Can't wait to see how he spins the lies of Cicilline and his disgraced tenure as Mayor of Providence.

Hey Bill, take it from Speaker Fox, you can't put lipstick on a pig.

When the seat is lost to the Republicans, the Democrats have no one to blame but themselves.

Comment #14 by Joseph Davis on 2012 07 20

The Dem's are so big on creating jobs in RI. Looks like the party created another one for its insiders only. I am certain the state has many qualified unemployed graduates that would have loved an interview for the spokesman position. Party never needed to outsource any positions under Chairman Lynch. Dems are slowly losing the luster.

Comment #15 by Blais Hazelwood on 2012 07 26

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