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

Friday, October 12, 2012


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Who’s Hot

Angel Taveras -> If you want to know why so many people are encouraging Mayor Taveras to run for Governor in 2014, consider this: David Cicilline’s approval numbers never dipped below 58 percent during his first term as Mayor of Providence (according to Brown University polls). And while he remained popular for most of his second term, he never could get back to his 2005-06 numbers and by 2010 (before Patrick Kennedy decided to retire), he was ruling out running for higher office. At 65.6 percent, Taveras is as popular as Cicilline ever was, but if he wants to be Governor, he might want to strike while the iron is hot.

David Cicilline, Sheldon Whitehouse & Jim Langevin -> The Brown poll this week had all three Democratic incumbents out in front of their Republican counterparts. The commanding leads from Senator Whitehouse and Congressman Langevin of course come as no surprise, but the turnaround of Congressman Cicilline continues to be the story of the year in the Rhode Island.

J. Patrick O’Neill -> It’s unclear if we’ll see the former House Majority Whip take a shot at Speaker Fox this time around (he maintains he’s not interested running until Fox leaves), but in a chamber that has so many lawmakers who are deathly afraid of leadership, it’s nice to see someone step up and take a stand.

Joe Shekarchi -> Speaking of leadership, don’t be surprised if the former campaign manager for Gina Raimondo quickly makes his way up the ladder if he is elected to the House in November. Shekarchi already has nearly $55,000 in his campaign account and should have no problem building that war chest moving forward.

Merrill Sherman -> The former BankRI CEO is spot on when she says some sort of debt forgiveness needs to be part of solving the mortgage crisis in the state. Here’s hoping we see increased pressure from the government to make this happen moving forward.

John Igliozzi & Terry Hassett -> The two Providence Council members deserve credit for continuing their efforts to force City Hall lobbyists to identify as such and file reports listing campaign contributions and how much they’re being paid. Some seem to be against the ordinance, but it certainly adds a little more transparency to the lobbying process.

Sam Zurier -> Another Providence Council member deserves praise for his push to make sure city vendors have to limit the amount they can contribute to elected officials. While Zurier’s ordinance wouldn’t completely stop those with contracts with city from donating to political campaigns, it certainly goes a long way when it comes to preventing pay-for-play situations.

Joe Biden & Paul Ryan -> The Vice Presidential candidates gave political junkies a substantive debate that was far more entertaining than the first Presidential debate. While there was probably no clear cut winner, Biden certainly gave President Obama a much needed boost.

Who’s Not

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Gordon Fox -> It’s never fun to be the least popular politician in the state and while he’s still a favorite to win re-election, bringing in both Mayor Taveras and Treasurer Raimondo to knock on doors for him suggests he is at least somewhat concerned by his challenge from Independent Mark Binder.

Brendan Doherty -> The Republican Congressional candidate is still in a dog fight with Congressman Cicilline, but if he ultimately ends up falling just short, it will be because he failed to define himself. It’s fine to take the gloves off, but it might also be nice to see a commercial with Brendan and his family talking about all the community service he has done over the years.

Mike Riley -> The Republican in CD-2 deserves credit for being aggressive with Congressman Langevin during their first televised debate, but he also seems to be blaming the media for the fact that the majority of voters don’t know who he is. When you don’t send out press releases or hold press conferences and your Party doesn’t have the resources to support you, it’s not easy to build name recognition.

RIPTA -> As if they weren’t already having enough problems, it appears RIPTA may run out of money by early next year. Maybe now the General Assembly will finally get serious about addressing the funding of public transportation.

Providence Journal -> It’s sad to hear that the state’s largest newspaper needs $1.2 million concessions in order to avoid layoffs. The Journal is still an incredibly important institution in Rhode Island and it’s difficult to imagine what losing more reporters might do to the paper.

Editor's Note: The original version of the piece incorrectly stated David Cicilline's best approval rating as Mayor of Providence.


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


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