Dems rip RI GOP for fundraiser with Allen West; Zaccaria fires back

Aug 3, 2012

The state Democratic Party is criticizing Rhode Island Republicans for choosing Florida Congressman Allen West to headline a fundraiser tomorrow evening at the Providence Prime steakhouse on Federal Hill.

In a news release, the Dems point to press clips showing, for example, that West has congressional progressives “Communists,” and likened being gay to choosing an ice cream flavor. (As Bob Plain notes, West has also figured in the Chick-fil-A controversy.)

“Florida Congressman Allen West is not a person that most people in Rhode Island would agree with, much less relate to; yet it’s apparently the type of person Rhode Island Republicans are willing to fundraise with in an election year,” said Rhode Island Democratic Party Chairman Ed Pacheco. “Rhode Islanders should not only be surprised – they should be outraged – that the Rhode Island Republican Party would be willing to invite such an intolerant, divisive person to our state. Republicans should be boycotting West, not raising money with him.”

State GOP chairman Mark Zaccaria says West has a tendency to speak his mind, sometimes in ways that make headlines. Zaccaria says the congressman’s policy stances are far more important:

I would say that Congressman West is an American of the type we should all aspire to be like. I think that he has an internal gyroscope that points him in the right direction. He has a clear vision of what he wants to do.

He has standards and he lives by them. And that is something that is inconvenient to people that are trying to assail him for all sorts of smoke and mirrors type charges without looking at, I don’t know, his voting record, his dedication to the people of his district, and certaintly the Constitution of the United States.

Before the GOP fete, West is due to benefit from two fundraisers at Capriccio, Zaccaria says.