Anthony Gemma

Welcome to TGIF, my new Friday column. As always, feel free to send your tips and thoughts to idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org.

In a resounding show of support from 1st District Democratic primary voters, Congressman David Cicilline swamped  businessman Anthony Gemma to win renomination, establishing  a strong foundation for a general election showdown against Republican Brendan Doherty, of Cumberland, the former state police superintendent.

Here’s a look at where the CD1 campaigns will be Tuesday night:

David Cicilline:

U.S. Congressman David Cicilline will join supporters for a primary night watch party at Blaze Restaurant, 776 Hope Street in Providence. Doors will open at 8:00 PM. 

Brendan Doherty:

Watch the reporting of the official Primary Results with Brendan Doherty 

7:30pm – 10:00pm

Le Foyer

A few things to watch for tomorrow:

There is only one Rhode Island primary election tomorrow (Tuesday Sept. 11) that is being watched from Woonsocket to Washington, D.C.  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay brings you the first district Democratic donnybrook.

The 1st District U.S. House primary joust between Democratic David Cicilline and Anthony Gemma has been in-your-face nasty, as rough as it gets in a little state known for big political fights.

Republican CD1 candidate Brendan Doherty is getting a jump start before next Tuesday’s Democratic primary skirmish between David Cicilline and Anthony Gemma. He’s holding a news conference tomorrow to latch onto a populist issue:

Take your pick: Last night’s televised WPRI debate between 1st Congressional District Democratic candidates, U.S. Rep.  David Cicilline and challenger Anthony Gemma was A) a reality TeeVee show disguised as political dialogue, B) a Saturday Night Live parody of a congressional debate or C) both.

We will choose C, but only because the scene, as watched on television, contained elements of farce and the repellent nastiness that too often infects political theater these days.

Joseph Lazzerini, who says he was Anthony Gemma’s field director and a paid staffer until he quit August 8, says in a statement released moments ago that he left the campaign because of a homophobic atmosphere at the Gemma campaign office.

Lazzerini, formerly of Providence, says he now lives in South Attleboro.

His statement reads:

“I’ve been following the unfortunate events that unfolded today between the Gemma campaign and the Democratic Party of Rhode Island. As a former Gemma campaign staffer, I felt it was important to issue the following statement:’’

Incumbent Democratic Congressman David Cicilline holds a double-digit lead over his primary opponent, businessman Anthony Gemma, according to a WPRI-Channel 12 public opinion survey released tonight.

The survey of 302 registered voters in the First Congressional District shows Cicilline with 43 percent, Gemma at 31 percent, about 20 percent undecided and 4 percent supporting perennial candidate Christopher Young. A similar Channel 12 poll in May gave Cicilline a 4 point lead over Gemma.

UPDATE: The Associated Press is reporting that Gemma has dismissed Sionni from the campaign. A Gemma spokesman called Sionni’s Twitter comments “inappropriate” and said Sionni, who was not paid, would no longer be working on Gemma’s campaign.

Do Rhode Islanders have an unquenchable thirst for campaign nuttiness? From the reaction of   both mainstream media and talk show wacko world to Anthony Gemma’s latest skewed salvo, one might think so.

The talk show babblers are in full throat. The ProJo’s front page Thursday morning ran Gemma’s nonsense as if WW III was imminent. Practically the entire city room was assigned a piece of the story. In the end, the article did very little to advance the issue.

Readers knew no more about the Gemma allegations Thursday morning than they did Wednesday afternoon.

Democratic Congressional candidate Anthony Gemma says there is widespread voter fraud in Providence. RIPR’s Scott MacKay reminds us that such allegations aren’t new in Rhode Island.

Charges of voter suppression, chicanery and outright bribery are as Rhode Island as frozen lemonade, quahogs and Narragansett Bay.

Our state’s long and florid political history is salted with jousts over who should be allowed to vote, whose votes count the most and campaign tactics straight from the underside of   the Tammany-Hall genre of electioneering.

While Anthony Gemma used gobs of free media Wednesday on voter fraud allegations that may or may not have credence, incumbent Congressman David Cicilline is hewing to traditional Democratic campaign themes in the run up to next month’s primary for the party’s nomination for U.S. Rep. in the First Congressional District.

In campaign direct mail, Cicilline is courting women voters and taking aim at Gemma’s anti-abortion comments in an interview on a local radio talk show. Gemma called himself “pro-life’’ in an appearance on the Helen Glover program in April.

The Democratic campaigns of Congressman David Cicilline and Anthony Gemma are using Mitt Romney’s VP pick of House Budget chairman Paul Ryan in an attempt to discredit Republican challenger Brendan Doherty.

As might be expected, GOP congressional candidate Brendan Doherty is applauding Mitt Romney’s VP selection of Paul Ryan while disavowing some of the things Ryan supports: