Side of the Rhode: Who’s hot and who’s not in Rhode Island politics?

Friday, June 25, 2010


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Lincoln Chafee  ->  I always love a good piece of political Jujitsu and Chafee did just that when he turned a new attack website by the Democratic Governors' Association ( into a fundraising appeal urging his supporters to give him money so that he could respond to these attacks.  Touche!

Joe Paolino  ->  This Democratic Party leader who is a former Mayor and Ambassador to Malta announced this week that he will not run for Mayor of Providence despite the creation of a 9-minute video and website announcing his campaign.  Paolino's phone will no doubt be blowing up as the Mayoral candidates seek his support.  My guess is that he will support the candidate with the best plan to create jobs and grow the city's economy - which will most likely be the political outsider Angel Taveras as opposed to long-time insiders Steven Costantino (finance chair) and John Lombardi (council president) who have long been part of the problem.

Landon Donovan  ->  Yeah.  I know Donovan is not a politico in RI.  But I don't care.  What an incredible tale of redemption for the one-time savior of American soccer who turned in a dismal performance in the '06 World Cup.  2 minutes from the U.S. packing their bags and heading home, Donovan's incredible goal against Algeria has forever changed his personal narrative and, possibly, the future of American soccer.  Ri-Ra in Providence has been packed for key Cup matches and will be rocking for Saturday's 2pm elimination matchup between the USA and Ghana.        

Frank Caprio  ->  Caprio had another strong week in his gubernatorial campaign.  First, he continued to attack Chafee on his sales tax plan in a debate this week and continued to ignore Lynch.  His communications consultants must surely be pleased.  Second, he questioned the effect of not having a primary opponent on the receipt of matching funds - once again implying that Lynch is not a formidable opponent.  Finally, several hundred people showed up at the Casino at Roger Williams Park to volunteer for his campaign.

Channel 12 WPRI  ->  For the first time since 1993,  Eyewitness News at 11 on WPRI 12 was the #1 newscast in Rhode  Island in all key demos (M-F A18-49 & A25 -54). The 4.3 rating in Adults 25 – 54 demo is the  highest rating for WPRI’s 11pm news since February 1996. Watch out NBC-10!  You got competition!

Peter Kilmartin  ->  This Pawtucket State Representative has racked up an impressive string of endorsements including the United Nurses & Allied Professionals, the United Food and Commercial Workers, the Teamsters, the Scituate Democratic Town Committee, the Warren Democratic Town Committee, the Pawtucket Democratic City Committee, and the East Providence Democratic City Committee.  As the favored establishment candidate, Kilmartin has been further buoyed by the inability of his two opponents - Joe Fernandez and Steve Archambault - to distance themselves from the pack.

Hope High Students  ->  After their controversial walkout, Hope High School students still refuse to give in to efforts by the School Department to roll back reforms that have shown tremendous results at this Providence high school.  Now, an attorney has filed a legal action to prevent the dismantling of Hope's positive reform efforts.  Great to see students come alive in support of their own education!

Sheldon Whitehouse  ->  There's no one who more effectively and passionately speaks about the Rhode Island rebellion that started the American Revolution - the burning of the Gaspee - than Rhode Island's junior senator.  If you haven't seen him speak about the Gaspee, check it out here.


Cranston Mayor Allan Fung  & the Cranston City Council  -> Cranston's political leaders should be ashamed of themselves for giving a sweetheart deal to Stop & Shop developer Richard Baccari despite widespread neighborhood opposition.  Changing the rules of the game for another connected, big box developer while, at the same time, sticking every possible obstacle in front of small business owners who are playing by the rules just plain stinks.

Kernan "Kerry" King  -> They say the cover-up is always worse than the crime.  In this case, the lawyer for Gov. Carcieri and current candidate for Treasurer, Kerry King denies that he helped a friend and campaign donor get a $1.5 million, no-bid state contract after a GoLocalProv investigation uncovered the deal. In this case, the King has no clothes.  The paper trail leads right to him.  King should just 'fess up that he gave a golfing friend’s firm, the Boston-based K&L Gates, a lucrative state contract without putting it out to bid.  Then again, it's decisions like this that led King to get drubbed in the 2006 Republican Primary for Lt. Governor by a margin of 67% to 33%. Democrat Gina Raimondo has nothing to worry about.

Patrick Lynch  -> Some progressives retain hope that Lynch will run a spirited and contentious primary against the more conservative Frank Caprio.  But, his campaign's message and field organization still seem to lack a powerful punch.  Take, for example, the recent gubernatorial debates.  Caprio and Chafee have jabbed each other - thus making the debate about their race in the General Election and leaving Lynch in the dust.  If Lynch wants to turn his ship around, he needs to learn how to throw a punch (and no, that doesn't include random policies thrown out at the end of a 90 second intro at a debate about a unicameral legislature).

Anthony Gemma  ->  Celtic owner Stephen Pagliuca could not gain any momentum in the Democratic Primary to replace Sen. Ted Kennedy despite the millions of dollars that he threw into the race because of serious questions about his Democratic credentials.  Now, similar questions about Anthony Gemma's Democratic credentials are threatening to torpedo his adolescent campaign for Congress.  Not only did he (1) max out to Republican Governor Don Carcieri's campaign, but (2) he did not vote in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary involving Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (the largest turnout in history of Rhode Island voters), (3) he only registered as a Democrat a month ago and (4) his responses to questions about his Democratic credentials sound defensive and unbelievable.

Jim Hummel  ->  Many in the media have done so much to expose the corruption of those in power.  However, the "gotcha" stories targeting hard-working Rhode Islanders is really old.  Perhaps its Hummel's corporate connection to right-wing groups like OSPRI, but his recent report that attacks a laid-off manufacturing worker in his 50s for trying to retrain himself in the computer sector is really outrageous.  Instead of trying to nickel and dime the working class, it would be great if Hummel would go after those who are really fleecing the taxpayers (see above: Baccari deal, King, etc.).

The Providence Police  ->  The Police are holding a gun buy-back program this weekend in Providence to convince people with guns to trade them in.  Sounds great, right?  The only problem is that they get a $50 gift-card to Wal-Mart in return.  Wal-Mart, of course, has gained quite a reputation as an easy place to buy guns and ammunition (not to mention the economic havoc that they have caused workers, their supply lines and small mom & pop stores all across the nation).  Trade-in your gun and get a gift-card to a store where you can get a legal gun!  Really?!?

Travis Rowley  ->  This Young Republican leader has written a book attacking the Rhode Island Democratic Party for its supposed stewardship of the state.  I wonder if he has 16 chapters on the last 16 years of Republican gubernatorial rule that included 16 years of every state government department being run by Republican appointees and 16 years of judicial appointees, including the entire Supreme Court.  I'm sure Rowley is also blaming the catcher for Papelbon's 2 blown saves too!  GMB!

Ernie Greco  ->  This Roger Williams Professor decided at the last minute to throw his hat in the ring in the Democratic Primary against incumbent Congressman Jim Langevin and challenger Betsy Dennigan.  He's even sporting a Right to Life endorsement.  The only problem is that 66% of Democratic Primary voters are pro-choice.  My guess is that Greco divides the anti-incumbent vote with whatever paltry amount of votes he gets and Langevin wins.

Email me at mjerzyk at gmail dot com with your hot/not ideas.


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