There will be a day when Rhode Island moves beyond 38 Studios, but that day is a long time off. The public release Thursday of tens of thousands of pages of documents is just one more step toward trying to get a better understanding of Rhode Island's most recent scandal. So with that in mind, thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Your tips and thoughts are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me all week on the twitters. Here we go.

AFGE / flickr

While the Donald Trump surge in the Republican presidential sweepstakes has dominated media coverage among GOP hopefuls, the Democratic side has been suffused with reports about Hillary Clinton’s foundering campaign and her drop in public opinion poll favorability ratings.

State Rep. Joseph McNamara (D-Warwick), chairman of the state Democratic Party, joins Bonus Q+A to discuss education, former House speaker Gordon Fox, how Democratic dominance of the General Assembly has affected the state, and other issues.

For more McNamara, check our Political Roundtable session with him. 

Notes from Iowa: Chafee Plugs On, Despite a Lack of Support

Aug 4, 2015
Chafee campaign

Antonia Noori Farzan, a Rhode Island-based freelancer writer, recently caught up with Lincoln Chafee as he campaigned in Iowa. Here's her guest report for On Politics:

At Milio’s Sandwiches, next to the convention center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Lincoln Chafee’s name drew a blank.

“I don’t even know who that is,” Dustin Heller, who was working the register as a steady stream of campaign staffers, reporters, and off-duty Secret Service agents wandered in, said.

Chafee campaign

Former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee is expected to formally announce his candidacy Wednesday evening for the Democratic presidential nomination. He’ll make the announcement at George Mason University in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Chafee left the governor’s office in January with low approval ratings. And there’s debate about whether Chafee can actually impact the Democratic presidential race.

The difficulties of his one term as governor seem far away as Lincoln Chafee drives north to to look for support among voters in New Hampshire.

Whitehouse Office

Climate change is real, not a hoax. That’s according the U.S. Senate, which is now on record about the reality of climate change.  The Senate voted 98 to 1 on an amendment recognizing climate change in the Keystone Pipeline bill.  

Ian Donnis / RIPR

West Warwick native Paul Tencher, who has managed winning Democratic US Senate campaigns in Indiana and Michigan, joins Roundtable to talk about the national challenges facing Democrats; Lincoln Chafee's legacy as governor; the latest administration moves by Governor-elect Gina Raimondo; and more.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Gina Raimondo made history Tuesday night as the first woman to get elected as governor of Rhode Island. Raimondo is also the first Democrat to win the state’s top job in 22 years.

Raimondo beat Republican rival Allan Fung with unofficial numbers showing her with 40 percent to Fung’s 36 percent, with Moderate Party candidate Robert Healey drawing 22 percent of the vote.


Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung and Democratic rival Gina Raimondo sharpened their tone toward one another during their final televised debate Thursday.

Raimondo criticized Fung for being too timid in raising the funding level of one of Cranston’s municipal pensions – from 16 to about 20 percent, she said.  Raimondo accused Fung of not making the city’s full payments into the pension system.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

The three candidates for mayor of Providence took part in a spirited debate last night at Rhode Island College.  The candidates mostly rehashed their stances while tossing sharp remarks at one another.

With a boisterous audience, it didn’t take long for things to get heated between independent Buddy Cianci, Democrat Jorge Elorza, and Republican Daniel Harrop. Cianci took aim at Harrop for contributing to Elorza’s campaign and saying he might vote for the Democrat.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A new CBS/New York Times poll shows Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo leading Republican Allan Fung.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is slated to return to Rhode Island to campaign Tuesday with Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung.  First Lady Michelle Obama is expected here later in the week.

Christie stumped for Fung in Johnston earlier this month, and pledged to return. Plans call for Christie to visit some Federal Hill merchants this afternoon and to tour businesses in Cranston. An advisory says reporters will be able to speak with Christie, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, only at the second event.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Warwick is a key city in Rhode Island’s race for governor, and with 12 percent of voters still undecided, Democrat Gina Raimondo has a slight lead over Republican Allan Fung. 

As part of our Rhody Votes '14 election coverage, Rhode Island Public Radio education reporter Elisabeth Harrison sat down with a group of parents from Warwick’s Cedar Hill Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization to find out what they think of the candidates.

She started out by asking what they see as the most important issue in the governor’s race.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

President Obama has endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo.  

Raimondo’s campaign detailed the president’s support in a statement.  President Obama says Raimondo has the business experience to create jobs, and the ability to bring people together to solve tough problems.  The president was slated to appear at Rhode Island College Thursday, but canceled to focus on the ongoing Ebola crisis.

Meanwhile, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney is due to visit Providence Thursday to campaign for Raimondo’s Republican opponent, Allan Fung.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A new poll from WPRI and the Providence Journal, shows Democrat Gina Raimondo has a 6 percentage point lead over Republican Allan Fung.