2018 Governor’s Race Playbook: Raimondo’s Bad Week - Is the Primary a Horserace?

Monday, July 09, 2018


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Fourth of July week is supposed to be about hot dogs, parades, and picnics, but this week turned into nothing but political fireworks for Democrats.

The “Big Tent” Democratic Party in Rhode Island ripped into two and created a massive opportunity for Matt Brown to add to his momentum running for Governor.

While sitting Democratic Governor Gina Raimondo was taking much of the week off for vacation, the party was splintering over a series of “unusual” endorsements that centered the progressive wing of the party into spasms and raised real concerns about the party’s leadership.

Not only were progressive, incumbent Democratic women by-passed in the endorsement process, but endorsements went to two men with highly questionable legal backgrounds - Gregory Acciardo and John Carnevale. SEE HERE

Raimondo Paralyzed

During the week, Raimondo’s campaign seemed incapable of articulating a coherent explanation of the Governor’s position on the range of endorsements and what the party’s policies should be, leaving the door open to multiple attacks by primary challenger Matt Brown.

In 2016, Raimondo supported Hilary Clinton, who was beaten by Bernie Sanders -- Sanders won with 66,993 and 54.7 percent of the vote, versus Clinton’s 52,749 and 43.1 percent.

In 2008, a year in which Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination for President, Clinton soundly defeated Obama in Rhode Island. Clinton received 108,949 votes to Obama’s 75,316. Clinton won 59 percent of the vote to Obama’s 41 percent.

As a result of the Democratic party's endorsement controversies this year, Raimondo’s silence was taken by some as a de facto a tacit allowance of the party’s collection of miscues.

Brown Pounces

While Raimondo was reeling and vacationing, Brown was aggressively seizing the moment. He and his campaign fired off a steady spray of press releases, statements and tweets.

Brown hit Raimondo all week.

“Governor Raimondo’s extreme establishment position that she supports all incumbent Democrats means that she would support corrupt, anti-choice, anti-union, anti-immigrant and anti-gun control incumbents against Democratic candidates who reflect core Democratic values.  This is a betrayal of core Democratic values and demonstrates her inability to lead,” said Brown.

“Governor Raimondo’s 'protect the establishment at all costs' politics is what prevents change in Rhode Island. Democrats must resist Trump’s disastrous agenda, but we can’t do it without real leadership. As Governor, I’ll work to elect Democrats who will fight back against the Trump administration’s attacks on women, unions, immigrants, and working people. Change is coming,” added Brown.

Other Notes:

The Moderate Party has tapped Bill Gilbert to run for governor. The party was founded by Ken Block and he ran for governor under the Moderate Party flag in 2010. Block switched to the GOP in 2014 and lost in the primary to Cranston Mayor Allan Fung.

The rockiest week belonged to Independent candidate Joe Trillo who crashed his yacht into the rocks. Trillo posted to Facebook late on Sunday, “I would like to personally thank the Coast Guard, Charlestown, RI Harbormaster and Safe Sea for assisting me, my passengers & crew when my boat, the Lady M, came in contact with a rock which was not shown on the charts near the Charlestown Breachway earlier today. Thanks to their swift response and quick-thinking, we were able to bring the situation under control.”


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