NEW: Former Smiley Staffers Join Elorza Ranks

Monday, August 25, 2014


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Jorge Elorza

Democratic candidate for Mayor Jorge Elorza has brought on several of Brett Smiley’s former staffers to his own campaign.

Josh Block, who was Smiley's Communications Director, will be serving as Deputy Campaign Manager for Elorza; Finance Director Meg Clurman will be Finance Consultant. Several members of Smiley's field staff, interns, and volunteers will also be offering their support to Elorza.

Elorza weighs in

“I’m very excited to add these talented, dedicated people to our already strong team,” Elorza said. “Throughout this campaign, our message of ‘One Providence’ has been about bringing people together to collaborate on creative, pragmatic solutions to the city’s challenges. Brett Smiley and his team are committed to that same goal and will make our efforts even stronger.”

Block said, “Over the past year, Brett and Jorge have expressed similar values, similar ideas, and the same commitment to moving Providence forward. Brett made a difficult decision to see that vision realized, and I’m proud to be a part of Team Elorza to make it happen.”

Clurman added, “There is so much at stake in this election, and Jorge Elorza is the best chance for Providence's future. With Brett’s support and the dedication and commitment of so many across our city, I know we’re building a coalition that will carry us to victory, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”


Related Slideshow: Questions Jorge Elorza Must Answer to be Providence’s Next Mayor

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Experience Necessary?

Elorza's the quintessential Providence kid-made-good -- and clearly has the education success story of CCRI to Harvard Law going for him.  He's toiled in the legal trenches, and risen through academic ranks. 

But does that translate to a business acumen and know-how to turn the city around?  Brett Smiley counts starting a successful consulting company.  Although a double-edged sword, Michael Solomon's got the city council experience. 

Elorza's managed cases, and students.  Can he oversee a staff of hundreds -- go toe to toe with the unions?

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Money for Plans?

Opponent Brett Smiley might have dubbed himself the man with the plan, but Elorza's right up there with a litany of proposals for the capital city.  Schools, jobs, public safety, neighborhoods, transportation, diversity, arts and culture, ethics -- Elorza's got plans for it all.

And like Smiley's grand amibtions, the burning question is how will these be funded?  Elorza has a plan to double the city's exports in the next five years, with mentoring opportunities and trade missions as part of the strategy.  Those cost money.   Where will it come from?

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Fundraising prowess?

At the end of the first quarter of 2014, Elorza posted a small lead over Smiley in the cash balance department, with $217,082 in his campaign coffers as compared to Smiley's $191,000 and change.  Both, however, were a distant second and third to Solomon's war chest over over $600,000

As the Democratic candidates duke it out, second quarter filings due at the end of the month will show were the money race stands with less than eight weeks to the primary. 

Of course, whoever wins will have to face a Buddy Cianci waiting in the wings, who told GoLocal he raised over $200,000K in one week -- and expects to have $1 million by the time the primary arrives. 

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Primary Factor?

For the Democrats in the race, the primary is, in fact, the primary concern of the campaigns at the moment, with Harrop and Cianci waiting in the wings for the winner. 

Will Elorza's campaign, based strongly on his Cranston-street upbringing and focus on ethics, differentiate him from political operatives Smiley and Solomon? 

The first test on the path to the Mayor's office will be to best his two top adversaries in September.  Will Elorza's deep city ties and campaign aparatus translate into a get-out-the-vote effort enough to take the Democratic title?

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Final Hurdle?

All of the Providence Mayoral candidates, whether they like it or not, have to address to Buddy card. 

So far, Brett Smiley's been the most vocal -- publicly, at least -- in criticizing former Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci, attacking him on his corruption charges and conviction.  Harrop and Elorza have been highly critical, but as aforementioned, the Democrats are focused primarily on the task at hand -- making it past the primary.

If Elorza does advance, can he count on the support of his former Democratic opponents and their backers -- or will there be a mass exodus of those who see Cianci as the more viable candidate?  Republican Dr. Daniel Harrop provides an X factor in the genera election, of course, but a three-way race is vastly different animal than a four-way one before Adrain dropped out.  The winner will need to secure a greater chunk of the electorate. 


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