Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in RI Politics?

Friday, July 20, 2012


Who’s Hot

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Angel Taveras -> Convincing RISD to more than double its payment in lieu of taxes to the city is yet another big win for a guy who seems to improve his prospects for 2014 every day. Something interesting to watch: Will Taveras’ popularity give him complete control over the City Council for the next two years? For ambitious Council members hoping to run for higher office, a Taveras endorsement could go a long way.

Barry Hinckley -> One thing the Republican Senate candidate accomplished this week with his criticism of the DISCLOSE act: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is now paying a little more attention to his re-election race. At the same time, when Hinckley correctly points out that most voters don’t care about campaign finance reform, it’s also worth noting that they probably don’t care about him calling press conferences to say that voters don’t care about campaign finance reform.

Bill Fischer -> As RIPR first reported, the veteran PR flack has been retained as a communications consultant by the state’s Democratic Party. It’s a smart move for the party, which, if this week is any indicator, is going to have to spend an inordinate amount of time defending Congressman Cicilline in his bid for re-election this fall.

Brendan Doherty -> If that 66-page opposition research book is all the Democrats have on the Republican Congressional candidate, then Brendan Doherty is in good shape. People won’t remember a bad interview on Newsmakers. They won’t watch the debates. And suddenly that early effort to brand him as the candidate with “uncommon integrity” is looking like an impressive strategy.

Governor Chafee -> Governor Chafee is going to face a tough re-election battle in 2014, but he does have plenty to hang his hat on: He’s got all of the municipal leaders on video praising him for fighting for cities and towns (including Angel Taveras). He can tout himself as the guy who warned Rhode Island about 38 Studios. And now, he’s made a lot of women happy for increasing female representation in government.

JetBlue -> Great to hear this excellent airline is coming to T.F. Green. Let’s just hope the state ends up with more than just Florida flights in the long run.

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Who’s Not

EDC -> The worst thing about all these stories about the EDC screwing up is that the next business that needs a little boost is going to be the one that loses out. Because every deal is going to be compared to 38 Studios or Capco Steel, one has to wonder if there is any chance this agency can recover and, you know, help develop the economy.

David Cicilline -> The Congressman may have dodged a bullet with the city averting bankruptcy, but one has to wonder if issues like the PEDP loan disaster will become an issue Anthony Gemma or Brendan Doherty can really rub in his face. On the issues, Cicilline will be tough to beat. But if his opponents can make the race about Providence, they certainly have a shot.

Peter Petrarca -> There’s an interesting race brewing for the Rep. seat in District 44. Peter Petraca, who wants to be the next Majority Leader if and when Finance Chairman Helio Melo becomes Speaker, is in real danger of losing to businessman Greg Costantino. Petrarca is not particularly popular in his district (he won by less than seven points in 2010) and the Johnston Democratic Town Committee didn’t even endorse him this time around.

Leo Medina -> Speaking of a Rep. who is in trouble, if Rep. Medina can win re-election after multiple accusations of him ripping people in South Providence off, two things ought to happen: 1) His district should no longer be allowed to vote; and 2) He should run for Governor.

Dan Gordon -> The House of Representatives won’t be as fun next year without Robert Watson and Dan Gordon yelling on the floor. Rep. Gordon failed to qualify for the ballot and after briefly mulling a write-in campaign, has decided to move on. The sad thing is, this means that despite never holding public office, his opponent gets to slide into the General Assembly without a challenge.

Providence College -> Now that RISD has reached an agreement to make larger payments the city, Providence College is the only holdout of the major nonprofits. And no, Ricky Ledo’s autograph and courtside seats for the Mayor’s staff isn’t going to work.


Dan McGowan can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @danmcgowan



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