New: RI Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates Sign People’s Pledge

Monday, April 28, 2014


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Common Cause has announced that the major Democratic candidates for Rhode Island governor have signed a People's Pledge to "discourage often negative and sometimes undisclosed outside spending in the primary election". 

Clay Pell, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras have signed a Rhode Island People's Pledge that goes into effect immediately and lasts through the Democratic gubernatorial primary election on September 9th, 2014.

Read Pledge HERE

"This represents a watershed moment in Rhode Island politics," said John Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, "and we are proud to have facilitated this historic agreement and want to thank the campaigns of the three major Democratic candidates for working together to get this agreement done."  The Rhode Island People's Pledge is modeled after an agreement used in the 2012 Scott Brown-Elizabeth Warren U.S. Senate contest in Massachusetts.  Research by Common Cause Massachusetts shows the People's Pledge successfully reduced outside spending in the race and resulted in fewer negative advertisements than similar elections.
Marion continued, "As the U.S. Supreme Court continues to dismantle our campaign finance system,candidates need to take it upon themselves to fight the negative, undisclosed SuperPAC spending unleashed by Citizens United, and the People's Pledge is our best hope."  Under the People's Pledge whenever an outside group spends to support or oppose a candidate in the primary by purchasing TV, radio or internet advertisements the candidate that benefits pays a fine equal to the amount of the purchase to a charity."

Candidates on Record

While the Pledge has been signed, the Democratic candidates have weighed on what it means to their campaigns -- and their opponents. 

In a statement e-mailed to supporters, Raimono wrote, "I joined other candidates in the Democratic primary in signing a People's Pledge to keep some outside money out of this election. This is an important first step to ensuring that our elections aren’t hijacked by outside spending. But the truth is I'm disappointed my opponents didn't sign the stronger pledge I offered -- one that would have allowed outside groups and powerful special interests to spend a grand total of $0. With the pledge we signed, they can still spend unlimited amounts of money."

"Our grassroots strength has taken on added importance in light of this weakened pledge. The other candidates cherry-picked a few specific areas where they didn't want spending -- mainly television, radio and Internet ads. But they intentionally left enormous loopholes -- and as this election approaches, your mailboxes can still fill up with millions of dollars of nasty mail pieces and your phone lines can be overrun with robo-calls spreading misleading attacks -- all of which my pledge would have eliminated," Raimondo continued.

The Taveras camp to issued a statement saying that "following the lead of Mayor Taveras, all three major Democratic candidates have signed the pledge.  The agreement will prohibit Super PACs and other independent expenditures financing on behalf of or against candidates most notably via television, radio and print advertising."

“With a pro-Raimondo Super PAC waiting in the wings, we hope to keep the group’s hedge fund backers from trying to buy this race for Governor,” said Taveras communications director Dawn Bergantino. “This election is about the voters of Rhode Island, not Wall Street donors flexing their political muscles.”

Pell also offered his views on the pledge -- and money in the campaign.

“From the very beginning of this campaign, I’ve made clear my commitment to transparency and my dedication to changing the politics-as-usual culture in Rhode Island. That’s why I pledged not to accept contributions from PACs or state lobbyists, and why I took the unprecedented step of releasing five years of my tax returns to the Providence Journal. And it’s why I’m proud to be a part of this historic agreement to limit unaccountable and frequently negative outside spending.” said Pell


Related Slideshow: Rhode Island’s Most and Least Popular Politicians

The statewide poll conducted by the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University in October 2013 is the latest public opinion survey by the Ivy League institution.  

See how elected officials fared in Brown polls in years past BELOW.  

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Mayor Angel Taveras


October 2013: 63.9%

October 2012: 65.6%

December 2011: 51.7%

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Treasurer Gina Raimondo


October 2013: 54.2%

October 2012: 58.7%

December 2011: 52%

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Senator Jack Reed


October 2013: 51.6%

October 2012: 58.5%

December 2011: 46.4%

July 2010: 55.6%

December 2009: 56.3%

September 2008: 68%

September 2007: 61%

September 2006: 70%

September 2005: 65%

June 2004: 63%

September 2003: 62%

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Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse


October 2013: 39.4%

October 2012: 45.4%

December 2011: 33.6%

July 2010: 42.8%

December 2009: 43.7%

September 2008: 46.2%

September 2007: 41%

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Rep. Jim Langevin


October 2013: 38.7%

October 2012: 41%

December 2011: 41.9%

July 2010: 54.6%

December 2009: 46%

September 2008: 51.2%

September 2007: 55%

September 2006: 56%

September 2005: 62%

June 2004: 56%

September 2003: 56%

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AG Peter Kilmartin



October 2013: 35.6%

October 2012: 35.8%

December 2011: 34.5%

July 2010: 20.2%

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Sec. of State Mollis


October 2013: 35.6%

October 2012: 28.6%

December 2011: 25.6%

July 2010: 32.6%

December 2009: 22.6%

September 2008: 24.1%

September 2007: 23%

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Lt. Governor Roberts


October 2013: 32.9%

October 2012: 37.5%

December 2011: 32.8%

July 2010: 33.5%

December 2009: 22.4%

September 2008: 24%

September 2007: 37%

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Rep. David Cicilline


October 2013: 26.6%

October 2012: 29.7%

December 2011: 24.3%

*July 2010: 40.3%

*December 2009: 40.8%

*September 2008: 46%

*September 2007: 64%

*September 2006: 58%

*September 2005: 60%

*June 2004: 61%

*September 2003: 67%

* As Mayor of Providence

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Sen. President Paiva-Weed

October 2013: 23.5%

October 2012: 26.2%

December 2011: 24.1%

July 2010: 21.4%

December 2009: 19%


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Governor Lincoln Chafee

October 2013: 23%

October 2012: 28.5%

December 2011: 27.4%

*September 2006: 51%

*September 2005: 54%

*June 2004: 56%

*September 2003: 50%

* As U.S. Senator

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Speaker Fox


October 2013: 20.5%

October 2012: 18.3%

December 2011: 25.9%

July 2010: 20.2%


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