2018 Gov’s Playbook — Raimondo, Fung, and Trillo — What Are the Roads to Victory

Monday, September 24, 2018


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Tuesday will mark the six-week mark until the 2018 General Election and the three leading candidates for governor face varying complexities in their respective paths to victory.

Governing Magazine calls the race between Governor Gina Raimondo and Allan Fung a toss-up.

The Cook Report said the race only “leans Democrat.”

Independent Joe Trillo is an X-Factor. He has a solid conservative base and in the last two elections in Rhode Island, third party/independent candidates garnered 21.4 percent of the vote in 2014 and 36.1 percent in 2010. It is argued that Bob Healey’s Moderate party run in 2014 pulled votes from Fung and allowed Raimondo to win.

In 2010, it was independent candidate Lincoln Chafee who was the most liberal in the race and he edged GOP candidate John Robitaille and Democrat Frank Caprio to capture the governorship.

For Trillo to move into firm contention, he needs to retain the “Trump vote.” In the 2016 Presidential election Donald Trump captured 38.9 percent of the vote, and if Trump could capture the bulk of that vote and convince Rhode Islanders he is the change agent Rhode Islanders yearn for — the race gets even more interesting. Trump won 14 on 39 cities and towns in Rhode Island and was the first Republican to win Kent Country since Ronald Reagan in 1984.


Presently, the easiest path is to a November win looks to be Raimondo’s, but she is just one UHIP or scandal away from a loss. Raimondo’s favorability ratings are consistently dismal. Consistently across a range of polls, she continues to be under 50 percent.



Republican Fung faces three challenges — Raimondo’s overwhelming financial advantage in campaign funds, a strong economy (thus, minimizing the call for change) and Trillo — who is a threat to take GOP votes away and to undermine the Cranston Mayor’s base.


The most difficult path to victory is Trillo’s. A June GoLocalProv/John Della Volpe Poll found that in a matchup with Raimondo and Fung, Trillo pulled 16 percent of the vote. Now, the impetus is on Trillo to look like more than a spoiler for Fung.



Related Slideshow: 2018 Governor’s Race Playbook - September 24, 2018

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Allan Fung (R)


The strongest advocate this week for Fung was Coventry State Representative Bobby Nardolillo who joined GoLocal LIVE to talk about the need for party unity among Republicans.  WATCH HERE

"In a time where our state is in dire need of change and great leadership, it's so important we unify as a party and as a state to focus on Rhode Island's future. Allan Fung is the leader to bring fundamental change to our state," said Nardolillo.

Not being able to gain the endorsement of GOP primary foe Patricia Morgan is a problem.


Not the strongest week for Fung. The week was dictated by Governor Gina Raimondo's campaign attacking Fung on issues like the $250 million school improvement bond -- a proposal offered by Raimondo's administration and opposed by Fung.

Fung also played defense on President Donald Trump. Third party ads attacked Fung -- claiming he supports Trump's agenda.

X-Factor:  Fung shook off a poll by Democratic consultant Joe Fleming conducted for WPRI.  "The majority of Rhode Islanders are clearly saying that they want change and that they do not want Gina Raimondo.  Allan Fung is the only candidate that can beat her and bring that change, and a vote for anyone else only gets you four more years of the same incompetent governor," said the Fung campaign in a statement.  

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Momentum: Flat

Gina Raimondo (D)


Governor Gina Raimondo's campaign was on the attack all week. She did not have to defend her record as governor as the campaign narrative focused mostly on Fung. 


Raimondo enjoyed much of the week's news focused on Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello. Any week focused away from her campaign is a good week for the incumbent governor.

X-Factor: Week two of the post-primary election goes to Raimondo. The first week she stumbled, having to defend a TV spot showing the wrong city, but she appears to have rebounded.

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Momentum: Down

Joe Trillo (I)


Independent candidate Joe Trillo worked to differentiate himself by pounding on his small business experience. 

“As a small businessman for over forty years, I have developed a unique perspective on the needs and burdens facing small businesses in our state.  As governor, one of my top priorities will be to be on the forefront of small business development and be readily accessible to the small business community,” said Trillo.

“The first part of my plan is called the Governor’s Small Business Committee.  This plan is an innovative way to connect every small business owner in the state with the state house, giving them a direct link to the governor.  Every small business in our state, no matter the size, deserves to be heard by the governor and be given an opportunity to prosper in our state,” he added.


He is looking to win Patricia Morgan's endorsement -- but no final word on Morgan's plans yet. 

X-Factor: Needs to jump-start the campaign to keep it from becoming a two-candidate race.  

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Other Candidates

GoLocal will cover the other gubernatorial candidates when they make news during the campaign.


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