Is Fung Eyeing Another Match Up with Raimondo for Governor?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

 

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Allan Fung

Democratic candidate for Mayor of Cranston Michael Sepe has been hitting out at Cranston Mayor Allan Fung for refusing to rule out another run for Governor in 2018 -- and Fung's camp is swinging right back. 

Sepe, who announced his candidacy last November, recently baited Republican Fung by stating, “Why won’t Mayor Fung rule out another run for governor? Is it because he plans to leave our city in the lurch...again?”

“I think voters want to know if Allan Fung will focus on Cranston full time or use his position as Mayor to try to mount a campaign for Governor,” said Brown University Professor of Political Science Wendy Schiller. "What voters might consider though is if he does get elected governor, how might that help Cranston? For one thing he will need a good record as mayor of Cranston so in some ways aspirations for higher office can produce more responsive government at lower levels of government.” 

Fung, who was first elected Mayor of Cranston in 2008 after serving on the City Council for five years, lost to Governor Gina Raimondo in 2014. Raimondo garnered 40.7% of the vote, Fung got 36.2%, and the late Moderate Party candidate Robert Healey got 21.4%.  

Whether Raimondo runs again is not set in stone, given speculation that should Hillary Clinton win in November, Raimondo could by eyeing a new job herself - in the new administration. 

“Mr. Sepe is a desperate candidate grasping at straws.  After decades as a political party boss, he has lost touch with the voters of Cranston, who voted overwhelmingly in support of Allan Fung's campaign for governor in the last election,” said Fung's Rob Coupe. “Just last week, Mayor Fung publicly reiterated his commitment to run this November for re-election for the next term as Mayor of Cranston.”

“The people of Cranston deserve to have a mayor who actually wants the job, not someone who will use the office as a stepping-stone,” said Sepe. 

Back-and-Forth

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Michael Sepe

The back-and-forth between Sepe and Fung has been ongoing during the election season, with Sepe calling into question Fung’s leadership, and Fung boasting of his record. 

Fung’s camp defended the management — and fiscal status — of the city. 

“Thanks to the leadership demonstrated by Mayor Fung, Cranston's fiscal condition is the best it has been in decades.  We have our highest bond ratings in over twenty years and the largest rainy day fund of any city or town in the state.  We have gone without a tax increase four of the past five years while balancing our budgets and paying off debt.  We have refinanced outstanding bonds to save hundreds of thousands of dollars every year for taxpayers, and our pensions reforms, which were recently upheld by the Superior Court, have brought stability to the fund while savings an additional $6 million per year for taxpayers.  Additionally, we have proposed bond referenda including another $20 million to upgrade our roads and infrastructure without an undue burden on taxpayers,” said Coupe. 

But Sepe chose recently to make Fung’s statewide ambitions a focal piece. 

“In 2013, while he was supposed to have the interests of Cranston’s residents as his top priority, Mayor Fung announced his intention to run for governor of Rhode Island.  He went on to lose to Governor Gina Raimondo,” stated Sepe. “During his year-long campaign, Fung simply wasn’t giving Cranston his full attention. He was running a statewide campaign, raising money, and focusing on his next job. That was disappointing, but what worries me even more is that this city could be in for round two during the next Fung administration.”

The Fung camp the hit out at Sepe, who chaired the Democratic City Committee for the last 18 years. 

“Cranston residents appreciate the fantastic quality of life and the fiscal stability of our city with Mayor Fung in charge and we simply can't go backwards and return to the days of fiscal irresponsibility and the old style political patronage machine that Mike Sepe represents,” said Coupe.

Higher Office in Perspective

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Is the State House the ultimate goal?

Roger Williams University Professor of Political Science June Speakman gave her perspective on elected officials pursuing higher office. 

“It is not at all unusual for an elected official to seek higher office while serving.  Just this presidential cycle, for example, we saw sitting governors Perry, Jindal, Christie, Walker and Kasich all running for the Republican nomination while supposedly continuing to govern their states. If Mr. Sepe is questioning Mayor Fung's commitment to Cranston, consider how the citizens of Texas, Louisiana, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Ohio must feel,” said Speakman.  

"Voters, and political opponents have every right to ask how candidates pull this off. And it's certainly within the bounds of acceptable campaign discourse for an opponent to raise the kinds of questions Mr. Sepe has raised about Mayor Fung's. From Fung's perspective, however, it is wiser to dodge the question now, than to make a promise not to run and break it later," said Speakman. "There is little evidence that voters punish elected officials for political ambitions, especially because "promotion" to higher office brings prestige and media attention to the home town boy or girl, and thus to the hometown. The one notable case in recent years in U.S Congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA) who lost his 2014 re-election bid to a newcomer largely because he paid less attention to his district than to his rise through House leadership."

"As he considers his political future, Mayor Fung should make note of the fact that very few Rhode Island mayors have ascended to the office of governor, and the most recent ones--Lincoln Chafee and Phil Noel -- both served as Mayor of Warwick. Further, political scientist Alan Rosenthal, in his 2013 study of governors, 'The Best Job in Politics,' concludes that the best stepping stone to the Governor's Mansion nationwide is service in the state legislature.   Perhaps Mayor Fung should consider the General Assembly his next stop," said Speakman.

PLEASE NOTE: Ed DiPrete also served as Mayor prior to being elected Governor of Rhode Island. He was elected statewide in 1984.

 

Related Slideshow: Cranston Police Contributions to Allan Fung

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Lt. Stephen Antonucci

12 contributions from Vito Antonucci, City of Providence, Public Properties Division, Chepachet RI. Made from 2008-13 total of $825.

  • 6/16/08 $100
  • 7/28/08 $150
  • 7/28/08 $150
  • 8/22/08 $50
  • 8/22/08 $50
  • 9/20/08 $100
  • 9/20/08 $100
  • 3/07/09 $100
  • 5/18/09 $100
  • 9/13/11 $100
  • 9/29/13 $100

 

8 Contributions from Michelle Antonucci, 60 Pine Ridge Drive, Cranston (PayChex Inc. of EP as employer).  Made from 2008-2013 for $1,060.

  • 6/19/08 $100
  • 8/06/08 $150
  • 8/06/08 $150
  • 9/23/08 $50
  • 9/23/08 $50
  • 4/16/09 $200
  • 10/26/10 $60
  • 10/03/13 $500

 

2 Contributions from Gail Antonucci, 119 Woodview Drive, Cranston (Homemaker)

  • 6/18/08 $100
  • 5/18/09 $100

 

contributions from Kevin Antonucci, 70 Garden Hills Drive, Cranston (City of Cranston)

  • 7/28/08 $150
  • 7/28/08 $150
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Lt. Alan Loiselle

9 Contributions in name of Alan Loiselle, 20 Eastgate Drive, Warwick (City of Cranston as employer)

  • 6/5/08 $186.83 (In-kind, listed as “Hardware and supplies for headquarters”)
  • 6/16/08 $200
  • 6/23/08 $53.37 (In-kind, see above)
  • 7/28/08 $150
  • 7/31/08 $133.36 (In-kind, “Building materials and supplies”)
  • 5/18/09 $100
  • 9/16/08 $127.12 (In-kind, “Building equipment and supplies”)
  • 8/30/10 $100
  • 10/24/10 $50

 

1 Contribution from Robert Loiselle, Loiselle Insurance Agency, Pawtucket.

  • 10/29/08 $100

 

1 Contribution from Martin Loiselle, retired, 180 Potters Ave., Cranston.

  • 6/16/08 $100
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Lt. Carl R. Ricci

7 contributions from a Carl R. Ricci, 76 Northview Ave. Cranston (Phred’s Drugs as employer)

  • 8/20/09 $300
  • 8/30/10 $100
  • 10/30/09 $125
  • 2/25/10 $150
  • 2/23/11 $150
  • 2/21/12 $150
  • 2/21/13 $150

 

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Captain Sean Carmody

2 contributions from Sean P. Carmody, 129 Allens Ave. Cranston (City of Cranston employer)

  • 9/21/08 $100
  • 10/08/08 $200

10 contributions from Melissa Augaitis, 10 Basil Crossing, (Employer, Perspectives Corporation)

  • 6/16/08 $200
  • 3/26/09 $100
    2/25/10 $300
    8/30/10 $250
    10/17/10 $200
    2/23/11 $200
    2/29/12 $150
    6/3/13 $250
    6/25/13 $250
    9/29/12 $500

1 contribution from Maureen Carmody, same address, no employer

  • 7/28/08 $100

 

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Chief Marco Palombo

4 Contributions in name of Michelle Palombo, 4 Jennifer Circle, Cranston (homemaker)

  • 9/18/08 $50
  • 9/13/11 $150
  • 6/25/13 $200
  • 7/22/13 $200
 
 

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