EXCLUSIVE: Witman Pours $500,000 into Her Campaign for Providence Mayor UPDATED
Thursday, August 30, 2018
Dee Dee Whitman is loaning her campaign $500,000 -- a move that dramatically changes the Providence race for Mayor.
Witman tells GoLocal that she is dedicated to winning the race for Providence Mayor and is, de facto, sending a clear message to Providence voters that they will have a clear alternative to the winner of the Democratic primary. Incumbent Mayor Jorge Elorza is the front-runner on the Democratic side. Other Democratic candidates are Bob DeRobbio and Kobi Dennis.
Witman's infusion of cash immediately thrusts her into a highly competitive position with Elorza and puts her far ahead of both DeRobbio and Dennis. Elorza has roughly $700,000, DeRobbio has $77,000, and Dennis just $479.
"I believe in my candidacy, I love Providence -- and I think I'm the right person," said Witman.
Witman spoke to the role that fundraising will play in her campaign.
"I said from the beginning, I need to raise $250,000," said Witman. "But despite the large money I put in, I'm thrifty. I've learned it's not what you raise, but how you spend -- people can get crazy."
"So this allows us to hit the ground running when the primary's over," said Witman.
A poll conducted in April by national political researcher John Zogby Research, which was Commissioned by State Representative John Lombardi, found Elorza to be vulnerable.
Witman on Running
"I've been griping about the city for the last two to three years," said Witman. "Three years ago, I said to friends I'm considering running, which you can say surprised them. And as time elapsed, I'd talk with my husband who said I need to run. I said you're paralyzed, you're in the hospital -- what do you know?"
"Then the night before the papers were due, I get a letter from a woman who worked with Gary, on a grant, many years ago," said Witman. "She said she'd bump into him from time to time, and she'd meant to be in touch, but she'd lost track of time. Then she said she googled medical marijuana, and Gary's obituary came up."
"She said the one thing you can't get back is time, and she had such regrets she hadn't reached out," said Witman. "You could say that letter played a role in my decision."
Witman said the campaign has just started fundraising and has raised "about $10,000" so far.
"We have a couple of big fundraisers coming up," said Witman. "I am going to do my best -- and in the past, my best has been pretty good. And I want the city to be on track so everyone can be the best they can."
Witman is an experienced political operative and has deep roots on Providence’s East Side.
Whitman has been a political fundraiser from a range of primarily Democratic candidates for office. In 2014, she fundraised for the failed campaign for the late Vincent “Buddy” Cianci and earlier this year she did fundraising for Cranston Mayor Allan Fung — who is running for Governor.
This story was first published 8/29/18 11:38 AM.
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