As expected, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo is launching the television advertising portion of her deep-pocketed campaign by starting with a personal focus -- in this case, her father, Joseph, who died at age 87 earlier this month.
Raimondo's campaign screened the spot during a Tuesday evening candidate showcase, sponsored by the Rhode Island Democratic Party, at the Rhode Island Convention Center. The commercial is slated to start appearing on cable and broadcast television Wednesday.
Joseph Raimondo has been a touchstone in his daughter's messaging since she burst onto Rhode Island's political scene with a winning race for treasurer in 2010. In this instance, the 57-second commercial cites his resilience after being laid off by Bulova at age 56 and uses it as a metaphor for his daughter's determination to improve Rhode Island and its economy.
Raimondo is expected to eventually use her campaign-leading $2.5+ million war chest against her chief Democratic primary rival, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras. Campaigns often start their air campaigns with
feel-good emotional biographical spots, and Raimondo's first commercial of 2014 is no different.
The ad begins with a still photo of Raimondo as a little girl standing with her father and then shifts to the present, with the Raimondo family gathered for a meal. Speaking softly via voiceover, Gina Raimondo says, "My dad was always there. But this past Christmas, he was having a rough time with health, so every visit was special: talking about his parents and old World War II stories and Christmases when we were kids."
The commercial continues with Raimondo saying that on that afternoon, they didn't want the day to end, "so we took a ride together, to go see the factory in Providence where he worked for decades, until they shipped all the jobs overseas. He was 56 then, but he didn't give up. He started all over again. I'll never forget how brave he was. It's what gave me the courage to keep going when Rhode Island's pension system had to be saved -- no matter how hard it got."
Raimondo then cites the need to restore Rhode Island and its manufacturing, saying, "we will, because he taught me how important that is. Dad never gave up, and neither will we."
Raimondo is the second gubernatorial candidate, after Republican Allan Fung, to start airing campaign commercials. Democrat Clay Pell is expected to join the air war shortly, and Taveras can be expected to follow suit.
This post has been updated.