With 15 Days to Go, Air War Intensifies Between Raimondo, Taveras & Pell

Aug 25, 2014

With just over two weeks until the September 9 primary, Democrat Gina Raimondo and her supporters used a flood-the-zone approach Monday in responding to rival Angel Taveras's charge that Raimondo "works for Wall Street." 

Raimondo went up with a new television in which she directly faces the viewer and highlights her support for the pension overhaul of 2011 and discusses Rhode Island's ongoing economic plight. (She says the 2011 overhaul  "saved pensions," although the outcome of a high-stakes legal challenge that will likely drag on for years remains unresolved.)

Raimondo's spot responds to an ad that Taveras' campaign launched last week, going after both Raimondo and the other major Democrat in the race, Clay Pell.

In arguing that Raimondo "works for Wall Street," Taveras points in part to her support for investing the state pension fund in hedge fund investments that cost the state tens of millions of dollars in additional fees.

Meanwhile, a string of Raimondo supporters, including three-time gubernatorial candidate Myrth York and state Senator Donna Nesselbush (D-Pawtucket), released statements criticizing Taveras' ad. The common message is summed up in these first few sentences from Nesselbush: "The Mayor's campaign has reached a new low. His most recent ad is wrong. Gina doesn't work for Wall Street; she works for Rhode Islanders."

Raimondo's campaign, as Ted Nesi pointed out in #1, has spent $3.4 million since the start of 2013 -- $2 million more than Taveras -- to get to 32 percent in the most recent WPRI-Providence Journal poll. The poll showed Taveras with 27 percent of the support, Pell with 26 percent, 13 percent undecided, and a 4.38 percentage point margin of error. With just over two weeks to go, and with considerably more money at her disposal, Raimondo appears to be trying to drown out Taveras' message.

Pell, meanwhile, has continued his own presence on television, avoiding the back and forth between the other two leading Democrats, and thereby offering his own counter-message. "Rhode Islanders are ready to turn the page on negative politics."