Scott MacKay

Political Analyst

With a B.A. in political science and history from the University of Vermont and a wealth of knowledge of local politics, it was a given that Scott MacKay would become a commentator for Rhode Island Public Radio's Political Roundtable.

As a former political reporter for The Providence Journal, MacKay has spent more than thirty years documenting the ins and outs of politics in Rhode Island and New England. MacKay is married to Dr. Staci Fisher, an infectious diseases specialist.

Follow Scott on Twitter: @ScotMackRI

Ways to Connect

Incumbent Democratic Congressman David Cicilline holds a double-digit lead over his primary opponent, businessman Anthony Gemma, according to a WPRI-Channel 12 public opinion survey released tonight.

The survey of 302 registered voters in the First Congressional District shows Cicilline with 43 percent, Gemma at 31 percent, about 20 percent undecided and 4 percent supporting perennial candidate Christopher Young. A similar Channel 12 poll in May gave Cicilline a 4 point lead over Gemma.

UPDATE: The Associated Press is reporting that Gemma has dismissed Sionni from the campaign. A Gemma spokesman called Sionni’s Twitter comments “inappropriate” and said Sionni, who was not paid, would no longer be working on Gemma’s campaign.

Former 1st District Rep. Patrick Kennedy will campaign with Congressman David Cicilline in the run up to the Sept. 11th Democratic primary for U.S. House in the 1st District.

Kennedy will join Cicilline on the campaign circuit the week of Sept. 9th.  “I’ve known David Cicilline for years and I am incredibly proud of the work that he has already done since we sent him to serve in Congress,’’ Kennedy said in a statement. “No one has been working harder than David to get our state back on the right track and put Rhode Islanders back to work.

Do Rhode Islanders have an unquenchable thirst for campaign nuttiness? From the reaction of   both mainstream media and talk show wacko world to Anthony Gemma’s latest skewed salvo, one might think so.

The talk show babblers are in full throat. The ProJo’s front page Thursday morning ran Gemma’s nonsense as if WW III was imminent. Practically the entire city room was assigned a piece of the story. In the end, the article did very little to advance the issue.

Readers knew no more about the Gemma allegations Thursday morning than they did Wednesday afternoon.

Democratic Congressional candidate Anthony Gemma says there is widespread voter fraud in Providence. RIPR’s Scott MacKay reminds us that such allegations aren’t new in Rhode Island.

Charges of voter suppression, chicanery and outright bribery are as Rhode Island as frozen lemonade, quahogs and Narragansett Bay.

Our state’s long and florid political history is salted with jousts over who should be allowed to vote, whose votes count the most and campaign tactics straight from the underside of   the Tammany-Hall genre of electioneering.

While Anthony Gemma used gobs of free media Wednesday on voter fraud allegations that may or may not have credence, incumbent Congressman David Cicilline is hewing to traditional Democratic campaign themes in the run up to next month’s primary for the party’s nomination for U.S. Rep. in the First Congressional District.

In campaign direct mail, Cicilline is courting women voters and taking aim at Gemma’s anti-abortion comments in an interview on a local radio talk show. Gemma called himself “pro-life’’ in an appearance on the Helen Glover program in April.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Barry Hinckley’s campaign says he has made an advertising buy of about $500,000 in broadcast, radio and cable television time.

Republican Hinckley, of Newport, says the advertising will begin Aug. 29 and run through Election Day, Nov. 6, in his campaign to unseat incumbent Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee will join such Rhode Island Democratic Party leaders as House Speaker Gordon Fox, Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte between September 4th to 6th.

Chafee, a Republican-turned-independent, has been invited to the convention because of his support for President Obama, says Democratic State Chairman Edwin Pacheco.

Chafee is one of 35 national “co-chairs’’ of Obama’s reelection campaign.

UPDATE: Governor Chafee has issued a statement saying that “Caleb will accept responsibility for his actions.” The governor also said that he and his wife “have taken this matter seriously.”

Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s son, Caleb Chafee, has been charged with a count of  violating  Rhode Island’s social host law that bars serving alcohol to people not old enough to meet the state’s 21-year old drinking age.

Too many Guns

Aug 16, 2012

The carnage of gun violence has marred summer all across America. RIPR Political analyst Scott MacKay says Rhode Island lawmakers can offer a helping hand.

From the Rocky Mountains to New England’s craggy coast, each week brings another desultory report of  lives cut short by murder. You can’t  flick on a television news spot these days without another incident in the blur of senseless killing.

Obama Challenge: GOTV

Aug 15, 2012

Political professionals know that every election is decided by who turns out at the polls. It is one of the trite truths of campaigns. Well, guess which presidential campaign wins if more voters show up at polls? According to the Washington Post:

Gay rights advocates have a new arena in which to battle for marriage equality: state ballots.

November‘s general election features same-sex marriage referenda on state ballots in Washington State, Maine, Minnesota and Maryland.

While public opinion on marriage equality has been moving rapidly from con to pro, same-sex marriage has never been approved in the more than 30 state elections in which some incarnation of gay marriage has been up for a vote.

Rhode Island has been the stage for contentious debate over same-sex marriage. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says the political landscape is shifting in favor of marriage equality.

Providence city government and the Providence Journal have reached an agreement on the ProJo’s tax assessment lawsuits that will lower the newspaper’s property tax liability on its properties in Providence by about $2.5 million.

Under terms of the deal approved by Superior Court Judge Patricia Hurst, the Journal will get a tax credit of $625,000 in 2012, $833,333 in 2013 and about $1 million in 2014.

The settlement was filed in court last Friday before a trial on the issue, which was scheduled to begin today.

The sign on Interstate 95 says `entering historic Providence.’ RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it may be time to change that slogan to entering the `city of  cracked pavement.’

From the top of Elmhurst to the bottom of Elmwood, from Wanskuk to the banks of the Woonasquatucket, Providence is a city of crumbling roads. Potholes pock the business arteries like acne on a teenager’s face. Poorly maintained sidewalks make things precarious for joggers and the wheelchair-bound alike. The endless patching of roads riven by underground utility work never ends.

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