Does Patrick Lynch’s Exit Help His Brother Bill?

Friday, July 16, 2010


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Patrick Lynch’s departure from the race for governor will not only benefit his Democratic primary opponent, Frank Caprio—it could also boost the chances that his brother Bill Lynch will win the Democratic primary for Congress, according to sources inside and outside of the campaign.

“It goes without saying that an indirect beneficiary of this decision is his brother, for a variety of reasons,” said Bill Fischer, a spokesman for Bill Lynch, who faces three Democrats in his run for the First District seat.

For one thing, having two Lynches on the ballot might have confused voters, Fischer told GoLocalProv.  

For another, the two brothers were competing for money from the same pool of donors, according to Fischer. “There was a lot of support for the Lynches in respect to fundraising but invariably when two brothers are canvassing the same money that can begin to wear thin a bit,” Fischer said. “Certainly there are donors who, when they give to Patrick, feel they have given to the Lynch family.”

Joseph Fleming, president of the political consulting firm, Fleming & Associates, agreed with Fischer. “I think it will absolutely help Billy with fundraising when people who were friends were giving to both of them,” Fleming said.

In the second fundraising quarter, Patrick Lynch had pulled in $120,000 while his older brother ended up with $55,000. “We had a tough fundraising quarter,” Fischer said. “Today is a different day.”

Now that there won’t be a Democratic primary for governor, Fleming said media attention would turn to the four-way primary for the First District Congressional seat. He said that will help Bill Lynch, along with the other three candidates: David Ciclline, Anthony Gemma, and David Segal.

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Some See No Benefit for Bill Lynch

But not everyone thought Bill Lynch would benefit. “I do not foresee Attorney General Lynch’s decision affecting Bill Lynch’s campaign,” said Meghan Grady, president of the Rhode Island Young Democrats and a member of the board of directors for the state party. “Attorney General Lynch and Former Chairman Lynch are two different people running for two different offices.”

Grady praised both Lynches for their “deep dedication” to the Democratic party and the future of the state, saying she had gotten to know both of them over the years. But ultimately, she dismissed the role that name recognition and family history would play in the election this year.

‪”On September 14, we need Democrats to vote for the best candidate for the office and look beyond hometowns and last names and focus on the candidate who can deliver what is best for Rhode Island,” Grady said.

June Speakman, a professor of political science at Roger Williams University, also doubted that there would be any impact on the Congressional race. “I think that the First District race has its own dynamic,” Speakman said. “So I don’t think this will help Bill or hurt him.”

And she also disputed the idea that having two Lynches on the ballot would confuse voters. “When Bill Lynch got into the race, some people said if you like one Lynch you’ll like the other Lynch,” Speakman said.

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Patrick Lynch Turns Focus to Brother’s Campaign

Patrick Lynch himself made reference to his brother’s campaign in his announcement that he was withdrawing. “This is a tumultuous and historic election cycle across this nation and right here in Rhode Island,” Lynch said. “Although there are many important races in addition to the Governor’s, none is more important to me than the race for the U.S. Congressional seat from District 1 involving my brother Bill.”

Bill Lynch yesterday welcomed the decision. “I embrace my brother’s decision to end his gubernatorial campaign with mixed emotions,” he said. “I am confident Patrick put a tremendous amount of thought and deliberation into this process before ultimately arriving at his conclusion."

Fischer would not go into detail about what discussions the two may have had before Patrick’s announcement, but he said Bill didn’t pressure his brother to bow out. “It wasn’t a decision made at the behest of Bill Lynch,” he said.


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