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

Friday, September 14, 2012


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Who’s Hot

David Cicilline -> The most impressive part of Congressman Cicilline’s 32-point victory in the Democratic primary: He never had to run against Anthony Gemma. Cicilline may have spent a lot of money on advertising, but both his commercials and the message he was sending during debates consistently focused on Republicans, not Gemma. Now Cicilline hits the ground running in a general election that should be much closer.

Brendan Doherty -> The fact that Cicilline won Providence with nearly 75 percent of the vote does not mean people do not care about the Congressman’s record as Mayor. But by the time Tuesday rolled around, the only thing voters could think about when they thought of Anthony Gemma was the lady in the attic. Providence matters. If Brendan Doherty can keep the race centered on the city and get across that he’s not out to end Social Security, he has a real shot.

Gina Raimondo -> The Treasurer nearly went a perfect 5-for-5 with her endorsements Tuesday as she helped Michael McCaffrey, Dan DaPonte, Mia Ackerman and Chris Blazejewski pick up victories. It appears as though the other candidate she supported, Carlos Tobon, may have come up a bit short in his bid to oust Rep. William San Bento from office, but a recount is scheduled for Monday.

Frank and John Lombardi -> The Lombardi brothers may both be heading to Smith Hill, with Frank easily winning his Democratic primary in Senate District 26 (he still has a challenge from Republican Sean Gately) and John winning the Rep. seat on Federal Hill.

Greg Costantino -> A lot of folks seemed to have written off Greg Costantino’s campaign against Peter Petrarca, but they forgot how unpopular the Deputy Majority Leader was in District 44. Costantino picked up a convincing 60-40 win and now takes on Jim Archer in the general election.

Stephen Casey -> The Woonsocket firefighter picked up the upset of the year with his victory over Jon Brien. Casey had the backing of organized labor and used a last-minute mailer connecting Brien to 38 Studios to put him over the top.

Angel Taveras & Michael Solomon -> Kudos to the Mayor and City Council President for standing by their plan to ban flavored tobacco in Providence. The two penned a short letter in the New York Times this week making it clear they won’t back down in their battle against big tobacco.

Chris Blazejewski -> The up and coming State Rep. (who many believe could take a shot at Mayor of Providence in the future) has caught the attention of House leadership on Smith Hill and on Tuesday, he won his primary by the widest margin of any candidate who faced a challenger.

Joe Paolino Sr. -> Sad news out of Providence. One of the city’s most well-known real estate developers and the father of former Mayor Joe Paolino Jr. died this week. A mass will be held on Saturday in the Church of St. Sebastian, 67 Cole Avenue, at 11am.

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Who’s Not

Anthony Gemma -> Here’s how bad election day was for Anthony Gemma: Congressman Cicilline could have given up every vote he received in Providence, Pawtucket, North Providence and Woonsocket and he’d have still have won by nearly 500 votes. That’s a lot of voter fraud.

Curt Schilling -> The former Red Sox pitcher again took to social media to discuss his handling of 38 Studios rather than actually sitting down with anyone in the local media to discuss what happened. Schilling loves to say he accepts blame for the collapse of his video game company, but he’s always seems to follow that up by pointing a finger at Governor Chafee.

Rhoda Perry -> The sad thing about the retiring State Senator is that she probably didn’t need to attempt the sleazy handoff of her seat to Gayle Goldin. Ms. Goldin, who defeated Maryellen Butke Tuesday, was a solid candidate who had the support of Mayor Taveras and virtually all of the elected officials on the East Side. It a shame Sen. Perry is leaving office with a cloud over her reputation.

Bishop Tobin -> The Bishop looks silly when he attacks respected leaders like Jim Langevin and the Congressman deserves credit for firing back at a guy who becomes more out of touch with Rhode Islanders each day.

Leo Medina -> It took a major effort from the Mayor’s office, but Rep. Medina will not be returning to Smith Hill next year after losing to Joe Almeida in Tuesday’s primary. This is a good thing. Guilty or not, Rep. Medina was too much of a distraction and did not deserve another term in office.

Stephen Tetzner -> If Jon Brien’s loss was the biggest upset of the day and Anthony Gemma ran the poorest campaign, Stephen Tetzner deserves some sort of mention for spending more than $40,000 on a losing Republican primary bid for State. Rep.


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


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