Ian Donnis

Political Reporter

Ian Donnis has been the political reporter for Rhode Island Public Radio since 2009. The Washington Post has repeatedly named him as one of Rhode Island’s best political reporters. In addition to other tasks, Ian tweets frequently at @IanDon, hosts RIPR’s weekly Political Roundtable, and contributes to the station’s On Politics blog. He was for many years a regular panelist on WPRI/WNAC-TV’s Newsmakers, and remains an occasional guest on RI-PBS' A Lively Experiment. Ian previously worked for the Providence Phoenix, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and The Associated Press. His reporting has been recognized by the Associated Press, the New England Press Association, the Rhode Island Press Association, and Rhode Island for Community & Justice.

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On Politics
5:00 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Ruling Democrats strengthen their hold on the General Assembly

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.

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On Politics
4:00 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Campaign manager says Doherty not necessarily closing the door on politics

Brendan Doherty doesn’t intend to run for the House again, but he may be open to seeking some other office, according to Doherty’s campaign manager, Ian Prior.

Following his concession remarks at the Providence Marriott last night, Doherty seemed to rule out another political run. RIPR’s Flo Jonic provided this transcription:

Jonic: Do you see another political run in your future?

Doherty: This was no dress rehearsal.

Jonic: By you saying this was no dress rehearsal, you mean ‘not again’?

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On Politics
3:00 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Why David Cicilline rolled up a larger than expected victory

Congressman David Cicilline enjoyed a larger-than-expected victory over Republican challenger Brendan Doherty yesterday by improving his performance from 2010 in seven communities.

Cicilline won the race by slightly more than 12 points (53.1 percent vs 40.7 percent).

The results are surprising since Doherty learned some of the lessons from John Loughlin’s losing 2010 campaign, particularly the need to aggressively raise money, and because Cicilline has been buffeted by a large measure of unflattering local headlines since he landed in Congress.

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On Politics
4:00 am
Mon November 5, 2012

21 questions for Election Day in Rhode Island

It’s almost all over but the voting. Some questions to consider:

1. If David Cicilline loses, does he try to stage a comeback in 2014?

2. If Brendan Doherty loses, does he move to the head of the list of possible GOP gubernatorial candidates in 2014?

3. How come the RI Republican Party can’t find a GOP candidate for John Loughlin’s old seat in a conservative part of the state?

4. If Doherty loses, will it be because he waited too long to get his message rolling, or because Democrats had a far better ground game?

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On Politics
3:00 am
Mon November 5, 2012

RI supporters of same-sex marriage remain opposed to putting the issue to a statewide vote

With Speaker Gordon Fox offering his most definitive plan over the weekend on plans for voting on same-sex marriage in the House, Election Day will offer clues about where the issue is headed in a few other states.

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On Politics
5:00 am
Sun November 4, 2012

Last Call on the 2012 elections

Thoughts as the days dwindle to hours leading to Tuesday’s election:

Presidential race. The earliest indication from a swing state will likely be New Hampshire, which is in the eastern time zone and is the only battleground state in New England. Crucial to an Obama victory is a big run up along the Connecticut River, from Keene to Hanover, then winning Concord and the Sea Coast communities. Romney must do well among conservative Democrats in Salem and Manchester and score substantially  in traditional GOP areas, such as the Lakes Region and along the I-93 corridor.

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On Politics
5:00 am
Fri November 2, 2012

TGIF: 12 things to know about Rhode Island politics + media

Just four days until Election Day, as my latest TGIF goes to press. As usual, feel free to send tips and thoughts to idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org. Let’s go:

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On Politics
4:00 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Taveras boosts Fox in home stretch; Binder hammers away on 38 Studios

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is lending another boost to House Speaker Gordon Fox in the closing stretch before Election Day. The popular mayor, who used to share a Dorrance Street law office with Fox, sent this email this morning:

Dear Providence Friends and Neighbors:

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On Politics
5:00 am
Thu November 1, 2012

Moderate Party founder Ken Block is backing Brendan Doherty + President Obama

How many Ken Block-style voters are out there?

That’s a big question, since Block says he plans to split his ticket on Tuesday, voting for President Obama and Republican CD1 candidate Brendan Doherty. If Doherty is going to prevail as Rhode Island’s great GOP hope, he needs tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders to do the same thing.

Block explained his stance during a taping of RIPR’s Bonus Q+A, which will air Friday at 6:40 and 8:40 am:

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On Politics
3:00 am
Thu November 1, 2012

Chafee announces lawsuit over 38 Studios against Schilling, Stokes, others

Governor Lincoln Chafee used a video message today (above) to announce litigation by the state over the failure of 38 Studios. The defendants named in the state’s action include Curt Schilling and former EDC director Keith Stokes. 

Here’s the transcription of Chafee’s comments, as provided by the Economic Development Corporation:

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