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

Friday, September 28, 2012

 

Who’s Hot

Angel Taveras -> The Providence Mayor got yet another boost this week when a Brown University poll showed that 60 percent of city voters approve of the job he is doing. It is no surprise the Mayor is on a shortlist of prime contenders to be the Democratic candidate for Governor in two years, but it also has to be reassuring that he’ll likely cruise to victory if decides to stay put instead.

Buddy Cianci -> As RIPR’s Scott MacKay pointed out last weekend, there is at least some speculation that the former Mayor may throw his hat in the ring in Providence in 2014. Those close to him say he probably wouldn’t run against Taveras, but he would take a shot if he believed the Democratic nominee was vulnerable. The problem for Cianci, however, is he probably wouldn’t benefit from a serious three-way race the way he did in 1990 against Independent Fred Lippitt and Democrat Andrew Annaldo. A 2014 race would likely be between Cianci, the Democratic nominee and Republican who would be unlikely to garner much more than 10-15 percent of the vote.

Carlos Tobon -> We gave credit to Rep. William San Bento for hanging onto his Rep. seat last week, but his opponent deserves recognition for pushing buttons and shining a light on some of the errors made during the primary election. It is unlikely that anything will come of Tobon’s latest complaint, but he may very well be the favorite in that race in 2014.

Allan Fung -> Congrats to the popular Cranston Mayor on becoming the new President of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns. Mayor Fung has done an admirable job in his city and it seems as though it’s only a matter of time before the Republican takes a shot at higher office (Lieutenant Governor in 2014, perhaps).

John Simmons -> The EDC report released this week isn’t perfect, but the RIPEC executive director made plenty of worthwhile recommendations in his 140-page breakdown. Simmons seemed to do an excellent job keeping the focus on statewide economic development rather than focusing simply on the mistakes that led to the collapse of 38 Studios and here’s hoping the Governor and General Assembly takes action.

Deb Gist -> Best wishes to the Education Commissioner, who had surgery to remove a benign brain tumor earlier this week. It sounds like the operation was a success and she is expected to make a full recovery.

Who’s Not

Charles Odimgbe -> The RIPTA CEO has plenty of folks supporting him (including Gary Sasse), but one certainly has to wonder how he landed the gig when, as Channel 10 first reported, he had admitted to using a company credit card to make $15,000 in personal purchases when he was CEO of Stark Area Regional Transit Authority. Mr. Odimgbe is currently on leave and this information suggests he isn’t likely to return to his post.

Don Carcieri -> It might not be all his fault, but the fact that URI’s funding was nearly cut in half between 2002 and 2010 is a black eye for the former Governor. One of the biggest complaints from business owners is that the state’s doesn’t have a prepared workforce and cutting funding to the state’s largest college certainly doesn’t help matters.

Jim Langevin & Mike Riley -> It was a shame to learn that the incumbent and his leading challenger in the 2nd Congressional District were unwilling to appear on Channel 10 with Independent candidate Abel Collins for a roundtable debate last week. Langevin’s office says he was in Washington and Riley did not respond to a request for comment.

Downtown Building Owners -> The last thing Rhode Island needs is replacement janitors. That’s why some of the largest businesses in the state ought to sit down with the SEIU and negotiate a fair contract for the 600 or so workers who appear ready to strike if a contract isn’t agreed to by Sunday

Mitt Romney -> There’s a reason Brendan Doherty got so bent out of shape earlier in the week when the Cicilline campaign ran a commercial tying him to the Republican Presidential candidate’s campaign: Mitt Romney is nuclear right now. The last thing Doherty, who is attempting to convince one of the most liberal districts in the country that he is electable, wants to do is be associated with a guy who alienated virtually all of the 1st District with his 47 percent comments.

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

 

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