RI Democratic city and town chairs split on Taveras-Raimondo

May 29, 2014

The Democratic primary election for governor is shaping up as a close contest between Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo.

The early Channel 12/ProJo public opinion surveys conducted by veteran Rhode Island pollster Joe Fleming show this to be the case.  Now comes last night’s endorsement confab held at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick by the R.I. Association of Democratic City and  Town Chairs, which failed to reach consensus on an endorsement for governor.

Thirty seven of the state’s 39 Democratic city and town chairmen and woman attended the meeting, which handily endorsed the rest of a Democratic ticket.  The group supported Jack Reed for reelection to the U.S. Senate and Jim Langevin and David Cicilline for reelection to Congress. Ralph Mollis, the current secretary of state, won the nod for lieutenant governor. Guillaume de Ramel captured the endorsement for secretary of state and Frank Caprio was the choice for general  treasurer. Atty. Gen Peter Kilmartin won the endorsement for reelection.

Those endorsements were all ``pretty decisive’’ said former State Sen. J. Clement `Bud’ Cicilline of Newport, who is head of the group. But when it came time for the gubernatorial endorsement, the votes were divided closely between Raimondo and Taveras with scant support for the third major candidate, Clay Pell.

The governor endorsement vote went to four ballots and no consensus was reached, said Cicilline.

``We were at impasse and people just weren’t moving from one candidate to the other,’’ said Cicilline. ``So we decided on no endorsement… or we probably would have been there all night.’’

Cicilline said the close vote of the party insiders is a reflection of how vigorously both Raimondo and Taveras are competing for support among Democratic leaders. ``They are both doing their outreach and working hard,’’ said Cicilline.

The turnout of 37 of the 39 town and city chairs is the biggest in at least 10 years, said  Cicilline said.