More than one-quarter of voters taking part in the September 11 state Senate Democratic primary election between Gayle Goldin and Maryellen Butke skipped the chance to vote for House Speaker Gordon Fox, according to an RIPR analysis.
Golden (1043) and Butke (821) combined to receive 1,864 votes in three precincts shared by the speaker (Epoch, Summit Commons, and the Jewish Community Center), while Fox attracted 1,367 votes. That means that 26.7 percent of the Democratic voters who participated in that Senate primary didn’t vote for Fox.
But Fox fares better among primary voters who backed Congressman David Cicilline, a friend and close ally of the speaker.
In looking at the three precincts cited above, Fox (1,367) got more than 88 percent of the 1,556 votes received by Cicilline.
While the First Congressional District race between Cicilline and Brendan Doherty is drawing national attention, an intriguing storyline is emerging in independent candidate Mark Binder’s challenge to Fox.
Binder, a storyteller-turned-candidate, has been hammering Fox over the state’s disastrous investment in 38 Studios, among other things.
Thing got more spicy with the news that political strategist Jeff Britt, a past ally of Fox, Frank Caprio and Don Carcieri, recently returned from Florida to pilot Binder’s campaign. Fox has responded by knocking doors with the very popular mayor of Providence, Angel Taveras, and hiring communications ace Bill Fischer.
Britt managed Bruce Bayuk’s almost-successful write-in challenge to then-Speaker John Harwood in 2002, a fight that wound up being scrutinized by the state Board of Elections.
[UPDATE: The information about the "undervote" for Fox can certainly be interpreted in different ways. Seen another way, Fox attracted almost 75 percent of the vote in a primary race without an opponent.]
Stay tuned for a lively run-up to Election Day.
This post has been updated.