Ian Donnis / RIPR

Devin Driscoll, communications head for Rhode Islanders United for Marriage -- which led the grassroots campaign to legalize same-sex marriage -- is heading to a new job, as the Chicago-based Northeast regional director for Organizing for Action, the Democratic effort formerly known as Obama for America.

Courtesy Paul Tencher

West Warwick native Paul Tencher is set to become the campaign director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The move comes after Tencher managed Democrat Joe Donnelly's winning Senate campaign in Indiana over Republican Richard Mourdock last year.

Tencher is expected to focus on aiding Democratic Senate candidates in states won last year by Mitt Romney.

By email, he says:

Friday, March 8, 2013

Mar 8, 2013

RI was largely spared the latest snow storm, but that was not the case for our neighbors in MA and CT.  The state's economy is improving.  These stories and more on the Morning News Podcast.  
Plus this week's guest on Political Roundtable is Woonsocket City Council President John Ward.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.

East Providence Polling Place in 2012
Catherine Welch / RIPR

A controversial Voter ID bill that became law in 2011 could face changes at the General Assembly, including possible repeal. The passage of the law by a Democratic-controlled legislature attracted national attention.

Supporters of Voter ID call it a way to protect the integrity of voting. But critics say requiring voters to prove their identity reduces turnout by minorities and other groups that usually support Democrats.

Just about every good government group in Rhode Island is pushing for an end to the so-called master lever option on state ballots. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why this is not a panacea for what ails our state’s political culture.
It has become an article of faith in Rhode Island among the self-styled government reform groups, most statewide elected politicians and the chattering pundit classes that our state needs to get rid of that relic of urban machine politics, the master lever.

Governor Lincoln Chafee is throwing his support behind eliminating the master lever.

“It is time for Rhode Island to join the majority of states and eliminate the Master Lever from the ballot,” said Governor Chafee. “Any mechanism that contributes to voter confusion – and worse, voter disenfranchisement – should not be on the ballot. Its time has come.”

In a news release, the governor says eliminating the master lever will further align Rhode Island with neighboring states and provide its citizens with more open and transparent government. 

Why would a freshly minted political star who has already banked more than $1 million in campaign fundraising stage a $25-per-person (suggested) football-watch event at a barbecue-burger joint in Providence’s Jewelry District on a Monday night in December?

If you’re state Treasurer Gina Raimondo, the answer probably has to do with expanding her base of support in the run-up to the 2014 gubernatorial race.

UPDATE: Former state Democratic chairman Bill Lynch, who gave up the post in 2010, says he said “no” after being asked recently if he might be interested in returning as chair “It doesn’t fit professionally with what I am doing right now,” says Lynch, a lawyer at Adler Pollock & Sheehan.


With state Democratic Party chairman Edwin Pacheco mulling a run for secretary of state in 2014, party insiders are already talking succession.

From the White House to the State House, Republicans were blown out last week. RIPR political analyst  Scott MacKay on what’s next for the beleaguered Rhode Island GOP.

As 2012 spills into 2013, the Rhode Island political trend worth watching is how Republicans deal with the drubbing their party took at almost every level. Republicans actually lost state House and Senate seats and were crushed in elections for U.S. Senate and House. You have to go back to the mid-1970s to find a time when no Republican served in either statewide or federal office.

If you thought Rhode Island’s high unemployment and the state’s losing investment in 38 Studios would spark glimmers of legislative realignment at the ballot box, think again.

The Democrats who have ruled the General Assembly since the “Bloodless Revolution” of 1935 strengthened their hand yesterday. Not a single incumbent state rep or senator lost their seat in the general election.

Rhode Island’s most prominent Democrats, including both of its US senators and the very popular Angel Taveras and Gina Raimondo, are set today to offer some belated support to Congressman David Cicilline as he finds himself in a dead heat with Republican challenger Brendan Doherty.

Here’s the prepared text of Governor Chafee’s speech – written by the governor himself, his staff says — from last night at the Democratic National Convention:

Good evening, and thank you for having me here to celebrate with all of you.

As the nation’s only independent Governor, I am here tonight to join with my Democratic friends, on the eve of an election critical to the future of our children and their country.

As a former Republican, I represent a group of Americans who all too often have no one to speak for them.

When news broke last week that Governor Lincoln Chafee would speak at the Democratic National Convention, it no doubt caused some head-scratching here in Rhode Island; Chafee’s approval ratings have been poor, and the governor, while sometimes praised for his candor, isn’t exactly the smoothest of public speakers.

With Lincoln Chafee set to hit the DNC stage this evening, the Republican Governors Association isn’t wasting any time in criticizing governors aligned with President Obama.

Here’s part of a mailing sent by the association:

Reporters –

Progressive activist Libby Kimzey got a boost over the weekend in her three-way Democratic primary for state rep — an endorsement from Providence Mayor Angel Taveras (who also backed Gayle Goldin):