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

Friday, November 09, 2012


Who’s Hot

David Cicilline -> The Congressman completed the comeback story of 2012 by cruising past Brendan Doherty in Tuesday’s election. For all the talk of the Congressman misleading the public by saying Providence was in “excellent” fiscal condition, the truth is it was Doherty’s suggesting that Mitt Romney would be “fantastic” for Rhode Island that was the most damaging sound bite of the election cycle.

Same-Sex Marriage -> The same-sex marriage advocates claimed several victories on Tuesday, but will it be enough to convince the Senate to vote on a marriage bill this year? It sounds like there will be at least some effort from the Senate to leave it up to the voters, but House Speaker Gordon Fox says he’s against placing civil rights questions on the ballot.

Antonio Giarrusso -> If there was any bright spot for the Republican Party on Tuesday, it was Representative-elect Giarrusso in District 30. Giarrusso mostly flew under the radar this election season, but he was the only non-incumbent Republican to pick up a seat in the General Assembly this year.

Peter Baptista & Nick Hemond -> No behind-the-scenes players saw their stock rise more than the two consultants who helped get House Speaker Gordon Fox re-elected. The two founders of the Hamilton Group had a hand in several General Assembly victories this year (Cale Keable, Ken Marshall, Marvin Abney), but Fox’s campaign was clearly their signature win.

Tom Coderre & Stephen Iannazzi -> Speaking of behind-the-scenes, the State Senate races didn’t receive nearly as much attention as some of the House races, and that’s largely thanks the efforts of Coderre and Iannazzi, who helped Hanna Gallo, Paul Fogarty and James Sheehan win tough races and managed to dismantle the already-tiny Republican caucus.

Harold Metts, Grace Diaz, & Scott Slater -> Nailbiters may be more interesting, but these three General Assembly members all recorded at least 90 percent of the vote against their opponents on Tuesday. Now that’s impressive. It’s also worth noting that incoming House member Tom Palangio also won with over 90 percent.

Organized Labor -> From the federal level all the way down to local school committees, the unions did it again. Organized labor won just about General Election race they targeted and even pulled off a few upsets, most notably Linda Finn’s surprising victory over Dan Reilly in District 72. You don’t have to like them, but they understand politics and messaging in Rhode Island and it continues to pay off. To that end, Bob Plain and the RI Future blog also deserve credit for seemingly going undefeated with all the candidates they supported Tuesday.

Who’s Not

State GOP -> You can blame the electorate all you want, but in the end, it all comes down to messaging. Brendan Doherty, Barry Hinckley and Mike Riley were all smart men with the right intentions, but Doherty was tied to Paul Ryan, Hinckley signed Grover Norquist’s no-tax pledge and Mike Riley pitched himself as a Wall Street guy at a time when the public hates Wall Street. And in a state that had the highest Latino unemployment rate in the country in 2011, Republicans across the state again failed to connect with minority voters.

Mike Riley -> He’s a far kinder man than his concession speech suggests, but Mike Riley is wrong to blame the media for not covering him enough this year. While the Brendan Doherty and Barry Hinckley campaigns were on the phone with reporters nearly every day, Riley did very little to pick up earned media. When you rarely send news releases or hold press conferences, it’s difficult to get your message across.

Leo Medina -> One bright spot for the General Assembly in 2013: Fewer accused criminals.

Edward Johnson -> While the reclusive head of the Working Families Coalition seems to have won every race he targeted in 2012, the mailer that blamed outgoing State Senator Beth Moura for 38 Studios even though she wasn’t in the General Assembly in 2010 was downright disgusting.

Angelo Padula -> The West Warwick Council President won’t be in that leadership post for long. Padula held on to his seat, but he’s now on the wrong side of a 4-1 Council.

Board of Elections -> From long lines to wrong ballots at certain polling places, Tuesday was not a great day for the Board of Elections. Here’s hoping state leaders take a long look at the mistakes made this year and correct them for 2014.


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


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How'd Travis do?

Comment #1 by Malachi Constant on 2012 11 09

sionni , drago, cianci, depetro............ZERO 4EVER

Comment #2 by frank bentley on 2012 11 09

The truth is,cicilline is a liar and is corrupt and did mismanage the city of providence as it relates to the finances and other issues. Just this past week we heard that under cicillines tenure as mayor ,he failed to inspect the citys schools for fire code violations. The truth is most people dont follow the issues, so when they go vote they are unaware of cicillines failures,other than he left the city a mess and lied, so they just keep voting democratic at all costs. They might just get some pizza to vote for cicilline to, thats about all it takes.

Lets also take into consideration that cicilline rigged the redistricting process in his favor,moving the town of Burriville and other parts of Providence into the second district and adding the south side into his district, knowing that it would be a presidential election and more people would come out to vote and he could ride the presidents coat tails to a victory.

Cicilline hasn't done anything for RI, in fact he has made the city of Providence worse off than it was when he took over. The people of RI are moving out ,as evidence of the 2010 census. The RI economy is in shambles,we have been in double digit unemployment since March of 2009, with the second highest unemployment in the nation. We have been rated as the worst business climate in the nation,are college graduates are moving out of the state to find jobs. I will continue to fight to get rid of corrupt politicians, like cicilline.

Comment #3 by anthony sionni on 2012 11 09

Cicilline is on the "hot" list because a large number of RI voters are comfortable with being represented by a lying,corrupt,degenerate piece of garbage-not to mention the redistricting by a partisan committee including Delia Rodriguez-Masjoan who was more or less open about how Doherty would not get the Latino votes that were pushed into District 1.Having ethnic hustlers like her involved in redistricting is a shame.I am also fairly certain that voting by non-citizens was a factor-there exists no way of checking.

Comment #4 by Joseph Bernstein on 2012 11 09

While it couldn't have happened without them, organized labor wasn't the only progressive force brought to bear in ousting Dan Reilly. Planned Parenthood deserves a ton of credit--a lot of their endorsed candidates did well but they were especially critical in the Finn squeaker.

The message for future candidates and electeds is: Don't mess with women's reproductive rights. Not in Rhode Island, not anywhere.

Comment #5 by Mark Gray on 2012 11 09

Not. Providence GOP. Disastrous numbers achieved by tagging along with the State GOP.

Comment #6 by Michael Gardiner on 2012 11 09

How appropriate that you put David Cicilline's picure as both Hot and Not Hot.

Just about sums it up. He is a lying, cheating, no good POS who ran a flawless - though dishonest - campaign.

Comment #7 by Joseph Davis on 2012 11 09

I don't get the Angelo Padula analysis, isn't the West Warwick Town Council now all (D)?

Comment #8 by Jim Atchison on 2012 11 09

Forget it Jim...it's West Warwick town. You may think you know what you're dealing with here but you don't. Council President Padula would have had a better chance of retaining his position had two or more of the three Republicans and one Independent prevailed in the election. The Democratic Party here has been fighting cats and dogs and with the new council I think that it would probably be 3-2 against Padula retaining the presidency. My guess is that it will be Councilman Giroux.

Comment #9 by Gary Trott on 2012 11 10

I'm disappointed in your analysis of who did the heavy lifting in these races. Planned Parenthood Votes! RI made over 2,000 phone calls and invested heavily in Marvin Abney's race in August and sent out 2,000 post cards and made 4,0000 phone calls for Linda Finn detailing how Dan Reilly was backed by Right to Life and co-sponsored the mandatory ultrasound bill. We worked closely with Clean Water Action and MERi and yes NEARI also backed Linda but we were in the trenches talking to women voters every day in both those races among many others this cycle. It's not just organized labor that can win for progressives.

Comment #10 by Paula Hodges on 2012 11 10

Still no mention of Senator-elect Stephen Archambault of Smithfield. Former town council president, came within 6 points of the Attorney General race with no endorsement and a class act like Mr. Hernandez in the three-way race. He won handidly in District 22 against an opponent with equal name recognition and was by far one of the tougher races in the state (as mentioned in an earlier column "no cake walk"). If you know anything about political candidates, Steve is the the real deal and undoubtedly headed for a bright future. The insight here is breathtaking. Excuse me while I look for my projo renewal notice.

Comment #11 by David Tassoni on 2012 11 11

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