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.
Cicilline’s mail ad skewers Gemma: “As recently as April of this year, Anthony Gemma went on a conservative radio talk show and said he was a “pro-life Democrat.’’ Now he wants us to believe that he’ll protect a women’s right to choose.’’
“Leading women’s rights organizations like Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America have come out against Gemma because he has been inconsistent on women’s health issues and can’t be trusted to defend our rights against the Tea Party backed Republicans’ assault on women.’’
As has been the case in House races across the nation, Cicilline is mirroring what other Democrats are using as campaign tropes: targeting women voters. While abortion is an ancient issue by the standards of politics these days (it harkens to the 1973 Roe vs. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision) the recent controversy over Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin has resurrected the issue in the 24/7 hothouse of political news on cable television, political blogs and even in traditional dead-tree journalism.
And one has to wonder why Gemma keeps baying at the moon with voter fraud allegations when there are other messages with which to bash Cicilline. Why hasn’t Gemma run a hoist-em-by-his-own-petard ad? Start with then-Mayor Cicilline talking during his congressional campaign in 2010 about how great Providence’s finances were then cut to current Mayor Angel Taveras speaking about the “category five’’ fiscal hurricane he inherited from Cicilline at Providence City Hall. If Gemma wants to attack Cicilline’s credibility there is fodder that is much more credible than the bizarre allegations about voter fraud from anonymous sources and chatter about cross-dressing pols.