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

Friday, August 24, 2012


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Who’s Hot

Anthony Gemma -> Say what you want about Inspector Gemma, but the Democratic Congressional candidate has everyone talking voter fraud and David Cicilline this week. The question is whether he changed anyone’s mind in time to vote for him over the Congressman in September’s Democratic primary. Loyal Democrats seemed to overwhelmingly back Cicilline in the direct aftermath of Wednesday press conference, but the more conservative old timers may now have a solid reason to vote against the incumbent.

Brendan Doherty -> Talk about winning the week. The Republican Congressional candidate was able sit back and watch a man he already held a double-digit lead over in the polls be accused of voter fraud. And now after seeing some of the negative reaction to Inspector Gemma’s accusations, Doherty knows he can still standout as the one candidate who stands above the fray in this race.

Ralph Mollis -> No matter what comes of the investigation, the Secretary of State may end up benefiting most when all is said and done. After some criticized him for backing the voter id bill last year, Mollis, who is considered a viable candidate for Lieutenant Governor in 2014, now has the ability to tell voters he has led the way on tackling voter fraud.

Angel Taveras -> Kudos to Mayor Taveras and the city of Providence for continuing to take on big tobacco, which is suing the city to stop an ordinance that prohibits the sale of discounted tobacco and flavored tobacco products. It’s unclear whether the city will end up winning the battle, but it’s nice to see the Mayor standing up for children in the city.

Dan Harrop -> It took a lot of courage for the former Republican Mayoral candidate in Providence to step up and question the claims of Inspector Gemma, but he made an excellent point. David Cicilline probably wasn’t running up the score in that 2006 race by buying votes.

Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee -> With all eyes on South Providence, it’s important to remember that the overwhelming majority of the Latino political community in Rhode Island is made up of honest, hard working folks who aren’t tied to voter fraud. It’s nice to see this PAC host a series of debates this year to get everyone’s minds back on the real issues of the day.

Barry Hinckley -> Lost in the shuffle this week was the fact that the Republican Senate candidate has made a $500,000 ad buy in his race against Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. Hinckley may not win this time around, but he can certainly say that he put a credible campaign together.

Who’s Not

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David Cicilline -> It’s never a good day for a sitting Congressman when he is accused of being involved in a conspiracy to commit rampant voter fraud over the course of a decade. That said, Cicilline seems to have benefited slightly from Inspector Gemma’s theatrics, which included a claim that people are hiding in their attics with weapons because they are scared of having their names revealed in relation to voter fraud.

Curt Schilling -> He’s not Jose Canseco, but the former Red Sox ace is quickly becoming a case study for how not to handle yourself when you retire from professional sports. While it’s difficult to not feel bad for a guy who has lost millions on a failed video game company, he is just embarrassing himself by taking to Twitter to rip Governor Chafee.

Peter Petrarca & Greg Costantino -> The wacky race in District 44 is heating up with the two candidates releasing ugly personal attack ads on each other. Last week, Petrarca mocked the Costantino’s family’s connection to compassion centers with a handout that included a picture of a cannoli filled with pot. This week, Costantino ran an ad taking Petrarca to task for incidents that have taken place in the nightclub he owns.

No mention of, you know, current issues facing the state.

RIPTA -> Mayor Avedisian deserves credit for moving quickly to terminate anyone connected to the alleged security breach at RIPTA, but this is just another black eye for a poorly-managed agency that seems to face multi-million dollar deficits every year. Public transportation is incredibly important, but there has to be a better way to run RIPTA.

Joseph Polisena -> The Johnston Mayor probably has a point when it comes to his gripe over the amount of rescue runs his town makes to Providence. But for a politically ambitious guy who may end up in the Lieutenant Governor’s race in two years, a campaign ad claiming he is responsible for an injury (or god forbid, a death) because no rescue vehicles were available in the city, won’t look good.


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


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