On Politics

Rhode Island Public Radio's political blog. Scott MacKay and Ian Donnis keep you up-to-date with the latest in political news from around Rhode Island.

We also have PODCASTS of regular politics coverage, too!

Pre-2013 archives of the On Politics​ blog can be found here.

A Superior Court judge has ordered Hewlett Packard Enterprise to continue its disputed work on the DMV computer system.

Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein issued a temporary restraining order requested by the state. That means Hewlett Packard Enterprise, or HPE, must legally keep working on the long-delayed multi-million dollar computer system for the DMV.

Silverstein ruled the state would suffer immediate and irreparable harm if work on the DMV computer system ground to a halt. He scheduled further arguments in the case for December 1.

Expect the unexpected when it comes to politics, right? Yes and no. While Tuesday's presidential election offered a big surprise, General Assembly results in the Ocean State mostly represent a lack of change. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Your tips and comments remain welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

BU Rob13, Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons License

Every American election brings an assessment of how well the media covered  things. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says there should be some vigorous scrutiny of the 2016 election cycle.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello emerged with a 65-vote lead over Republican rival Steven Frias after the state Board of Elections counted mail ballots Thursday, but Frias said he does not accept the results and wants an investigation of possible vote fraud in the election.


On the no-drama Rhode Island political front, the Democratic leadership of the state senate has scheduled a caucus at the Statehouse at 6 p.m. tonight to re-nominate Newport Sen. Teresa Paiva Weed as Senate President and Providence Sen. Dominick Ruggerio as majority leader. The meeting is public, according to Senate spokesman Greg Pare.

chensiyuan / Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons License

Raymond `Beaver’ Tempest Jr. remains a free man, the Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled again in a decision released today.

The high court rejected Atty. Gen. Peter Kilmartin’s attempt to re-argue the 1982 murder of Doreen Picard, a Woonsocket homecoming queen. The court ruled that the state had not raised novel legal issues in the bid to argue the case again.

The opinion carried dissents from Chief Justice Paul Suttell and Justice Maureen McKenna Goldberg. Both said the state’s case had merit.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

All you needed to know about yesterday’s  election in Rhode Island  was on display last night at the Garden Room at Biltmore Hotel in downtown Providence, the ancestral home of Democratic Party election  bashes for generations.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Republican challenger Steven Frias edged Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello in voting Tuesday, but Mattiello said he received more than enough mail ballots to ensure him a victory. With the mail ballots yet to be certified by the state Board of Elections, Frias did not concede defeat.

Unofficial results showed Frias beat Mattiello by 147 voters through tallies cast on voting machines. Mattiello's campaign team said the speaker was the choice of more than 500 people who used mail ballots to vote, in what they called an insurance policy for a Mattiello victory.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Democrats have dominated the General Assembly since the 1930s. So will an angry electorate produce Republican gains on Smith Hill?

Let’s start in House District 12, which includes the heavily Latino Washington Park section of Providence. Being able to speak Spanish comes in handy when independent state rep candidate Luis Vargas goes knocking on doors in search of votes.

Fasten your seatbelt for what promises to be an impactful Election Day next Tuesday. In the meantime, thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your comments and tips are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

BU Rob13, Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons License

After a toxic presidential campaign, the national question will become how to unite a fractured country. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay says Rhode Islanders will hopefully be better at this than other states. 

RIPR staff

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is headed to New Hampshire Thursday night to join New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, who is the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in the Granite State, at a campaign event for Hillary Clinton’s presidential quest.

Raimondo and Hassan, both Democrats, will appear at a telephone bank kick-off in the southern New Hampshire town of Exeter. Raimondo is scheduled to return to Rhode Island Thursday evening.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo said Thursday she picked the new colonel of the state police based on her qualifications and her ability to bring more diversity to the agency.

Dank Depot / flickr/Creative Commons License

With all the focus on the ugly, roller-coaster presidential campaign, a referendum closer to Rhode Island’s borders hasn’t received much media attention in the waning days of the campaign. That would be the Massachusetts ballot question that would legalize recreational marijuana, which voters consider on Tuesday.

The latest public opinion survey for WBUR, Boston’s npr affiliate, shows a 15-point gap in favor of making the weed legal. The poll, conducted by MassINC, showed 55 percent in favor and 40 percent opposed.

Lookout RI's endorsement of House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello through an advertisement in the Cranston Herald may violate an IRS ban on campaign activity by 501(c)(3) organizations.