John Robitaille, who came close to edging Lincoln Chafee in the 2010 gubernatorial race, has used Facebook to announce he won't be a candidate in 2014:
After careful consideration and a thoughtful analysis of the outcome of this past election, I've decided not to run again for Governor of RI in 2014. Among other things, the fact that the voters of this state chose not elect some very good and well-funded Republicans who could have made a difference by restoring sound fiscal policies and changing the status quo. The voters also approved every bond issue and added more debt to our state.
Robitaille was gaining momentum when he got a bit less than 34 percent, compared with Chafee's 36 percent, in the November 2010 election. The Republican's decision seems likely to make Brendan Doherty and Allan Fung think more seriously about running in 2014. Ian Prior, who managed Doherty's congressional run this year against David Cicilline, says the former state police superintendent is "certainly evaluating his options," although it's unclear if he'll run for governor in 2014. Prior said Doherty "is not done with being a public figure in Rhode Island." UPDATE: Doherty tells me he's "absolutely" consider running for governor in 2014. "I'm still assessing several possibilities," he says, while taking time off after staging a lengthy run for Congress. Doherty says he hopes to make a decision on his future plans in about four to five months. UPDATE II: Fung wouldn't completely rule out a run for a general office other than governor, but says his focus is on deciding whether to run for governor. He calls the job a potentially good fit for his experience as a mayor. Fung answered flatly, "No," when asked if he might be a candidate for attorney general. Robitaille, a former state rep candidate and aide during the Carcieri administration, went on to say this on Facebook:
While the pundits, the media and political consultants say that Republicans must change in order to win, I will not change who I am nor what I believe in to win an election. For example, during the 2010 campaign I said repeatedly that RI does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. We must look seriously at every program and every dollar spent to ensure the precious tax dollars we have are being spent wisely and effectively. Evidently this message does not resonate here in RI.
RI is one of the most Democratic states in the country. 90% of the General Assembly, all of the Congressional Deligation and all of the General Officers are Democrats (including our Governor who for all intents and purposes is a Democrat.) It is clear that the voters of this state prefer a large and costly government and will continue to re-elect the same career politicians who have created this problem.
Robitaille's message is reminiscent of how former Cranston mayor Steve Laffey bowed out of Rhode Island, asserting that Ocean Staters didn't really want to change. Robitaille adds, though:
I will stay engaged and use my energies to encourage young people to become more self-reliant and innovative in an attempt to rekindle the spirit of self-reliance and entrepreneurship upon which this great country was built.
My most sincere thanks to all of my friends and supporters. I appreciate everything you have done "for the cause."
This post has been updated.