John Robitaille, who came within fewer than three percentage points of winning the 2010 race for governor, took to Facebook Wednesday to urge Republican voters to keep an open mind on the Republican primary contest between Ken Block and Allan Fung.
It's a striking development since Block (running as a Moderate) got 6.5 percent of the vote for governor in 2010, and more than a few Robitaille supporters blamed Block for spoiling the Republican's bid to defeat then-independent Lincoln Chafee.
In his post, Robitaille basically says: that was then, this is now. His message represents a victory for Block, considering how Fung began the GOP race as the favorite.
Robitaille, who is now executive in residence at Johnson & Wales' Larry Friedman Center for Entrepreneurship, starts his Facebook message by describing how people continue to ask him about which candidate he's backing in the GOP primary for governor. "The short answer is that I haven’t decided," he continues, "and probably won’t until each of these candidates have had a chance not only to present their entire platforms but to demonstrate they have both the courage and the skills to lead this state out of the death spiral that has caused most people to lose all hope of recovery and prosperity."
"I’ve heard all of the arguments from supporters on both sides, and I’ve met often with both Mayor Fung and Ken Block to discuss their candidacies. Quite frankly, I don’t give a damn what happened in the past; who voted for whom; who donated to whom; and the never ending GOP insider politics. The 2010 election is in the past and I’ve broken off the rear view mirror. I encourage my former supporters to do the same. This is about our future; not about the past.
"I am only interested in determining who has the best plan, the most courage and the personal authenticity to be the type of governor this state needs. It’s about governance – not politics. My choice - if it matters to anyone beside me - will be a thoughtful choice based on how these two men conduct themselves during the campaign and how they show real leadership over the coming weeks if not months. I kept my 2010 campaign out of the gutter and I hope these two gentlemen do the same."