NEW: Cianci Announces Campaign Leadership Team for Providence Mayoral Run
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Cianci's announcement comes on the heels of Tuesday's Democratic primary, which saw Jorge Elorza prevail over Michael Solomon by less than 1,500 votes. Elorza and Republican Dan Harrop now face Cianci in the general election on November 4.
"There's no Democratic way, no Republican way, there's the right way," Cianci told a packed crowd at his campaign headquarters Wednesday morning of supporter and press.
Fielding questions from reporters, Cianci addressed a number of issue presented, including his base of supporters to win.
"Everyone counts in the city," said Cianci, answering a question if he could get the support of the East Side as well as the South Side in November.
Cianci said this election cycle reminded of him when he ran in 1974, when "the city lost its way, like it has now," said Cianci.
Cianci also addressed the issue of pension COLA (cost of living adjustments). "The 6 percent COLAs were done before I came on board as mayor. We took the control away from the retirement board," said Cianci. "Everything can be revisited."
Cianci formerly announced his campaign co-chairs -- City Councilman Kevin Jackson and community activist Leah Williams Metts.
Also on the Cianci team announced Wednesday were former state representative and city councilman Charles Mansolillo as Campaign Chair and Treasurer; former Cianci staffer Cyd Mckenna as campaign manager, veteran fundraiser Deedee Witman as Finance Chair, former Cianci staffer Beryl Kenyon as press officer, and Erlin Rogel as campaign fellow.
Ciani said the campaign would be putting forth position papers in the coming weeks. "It should be one a week," said Cianci.
Related Slideshow: Questions Buddy Cianci Must Answer to be Providence’s Next Mayor
When GoLocal first started looking into the possibility of Buddy entering the race, we asked of his former staff, "Where are they now?"
Buddy's been out of office for 12 years. Anyone of voting age then is now over 30. And anyone who was a Buddy disciple had to move on, forge a new career path, or retire. Much like the voting block -- who is Buddy's new base of support from a staff perspective? Can he snag young social media savvy professionals -- what do they know of Buddy's legacy? Can he lure folks away from secure positions for a high degree of uncertainty?
Buddy's got the headquarters, and is undoubtedly putting a team in place, but seems to be keeping a low-profile as the primary campaigns heat up. Watch to see if he can pull any defectors from the losing Democratic campaigns who see Buddy as the more viable way into City Hall than their former opponent who just beat them.
Age and Illness?
It's no secret that Cianci is 73, and has been battling cancer. Listen to him on the radio, you might think you're hearing man twenty years younger. See him in person, however, and you see a man who has been through...a lot. Noticeably slimmer and more subdued, Cianci cuts a contrasting figure to his younger days.
Don't count out the razor-sharp Cianci to use this to his advantage -- that this is the kinder, gentler, grandfatherly Buddy who plans on swooping back in to show the younger generation how to be Mayor, with his experience.
The question will be if he truly has the health and stamina for the grueling sprint to the finish between the primaries and Election Day in November -- and whether hi opponents will bring that up in private circles, or outright in public.
The felonies. The toupee. The fireplace log, lit cigarette, and ashtray. They're all products of Buddy's past, and more often than not, a punchline of a joke.
No doubt Buddy's got the ability to laugh at himself -- and quickly dismiss critics pointing to his criminal record -- but do Providence voters want the glad-handing Mayor with his larger-than-life baggage as Providence looks to emerge from the the recent recession and precarious financial standing?
Voters have seen the self-depricating side of Brett Smiley in his man-with-a-plan ad, but don't expect Buddy to play up his follies to the same extent. He'll cut to the chase and speak to his track record and what he did while in office -- and what he plans to do if elected again. So who will be laughing come November? Stay tuned.
Providence as U.S. Joke?
As far as self-image goes, the Economist's recent Buddy piece, "Freshening the Armpit of New England," didn't do much for the national perception of Providence. "Can America's Ex-Con Mayor Win Again?" quipped the Daily Beast. And how can one forget the Business Insider dubbing Cianci the "Poster Boy of Political Scandals."
While Rhode Island as a whole tries to shake the constant bottom-of-the-U.S. rankings for business and the economy, Providence has worked hard to shed the underachieving image, and was most recently awarded citation from the National Conference of Mayors for being an exemplary mid-sized city. Buddy is running on the platform that he turned Providence around before, and he can to it again. The questions is, will voters give him the chance?
Can he win?
Perhaps the biggest question now is whether Buddy can win. When he entered the race as an Independent -- and former Democrat Lorne Adrain made the switch to join him in the unaffiliated ranks -- the prospect of a four-way finale seemed to be in Buddy's favor, having to capture a seemingly do-able share of the vote.
Now with Adrain out, and whispers that Republican Dan Harrop might not stay in the race until election day, the prospect of a three-way battle and possibly a two-one -- could be keeping the former Mayor up at night...or he could be too busy raising money to meet the winner of the Democratic primary an his general elections challengers starting September 10. Either way, Buddy's chances of getting back in the race have slimmed, but he can never be counted out.
- Cianci 1-on-1 Interview: Cicilline “Deficit King” and So Much More
- NEW: Smiley Challenges Cianci to Debate on Ethics and Good Government
- LISTEN: Is WPRO Violating Equal Time with Buddy Cianci Show Title?
- Is WPRO Violating Equal Time with Buddy Cianci Show Title?
- LISTEN: “Anybody But Cianci” Group Forming to Take on Buddy
- NEW: Former Cianci Driver Rep. Hull Endorses Smiley
- “Anybody But Cianci” Group Forming to Take on Buddy
- National Media Reacts to Buddy Cianci Running for Mayor
- The Economist Dubs Providence “NE Armpit” and Cianci “Gangster”
- Cianci Names Cyd McKenna Campaign Manager
- GoLocal Goes 1-on-1 With Marrocco: He Slams Cianci and Solomon
- NEW: Poll Shows Solomon Can Beat Cianci
- Who Has the Best Chance to Beat Cianci - Elorza or Solomon (or Harrop)
- Questions Buddy Cianci Must Answer to be Providence’s Next Mayor
- Russell Moore: Anybody But Cianci?
- Ric Santurri: The Big Question– Can Cianci Win?
- John Perilli: Buddy Cianci’s Long, Sad Comeback Trail
- Ron Reacts: The General Assembly and Buddy Cianci
- Cianci Running for Mayor
- Buddy Cianci’s History in Pop Culture
- Will Cianci Run for Mayor of Providence on a Regionalization Platform?
- Buddy Cianci: Timeline of His Life
- Cianci’s Former Fire Chief Now Earns Pension of Nearly $200,000 Annually