Barry Hinckley

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Former US Senate candidate Barry Hinckley and Gary Alexander, the controversial Carcieri-era secretary of Rhode Island's Executive Office of Health and Human Services, have launched a new business, Velum Health, that pledges to "drastically reduce health care costs."

The federal government is mired in gridlock and it now takes a super-majority to pass legislation in the U.S. Senate. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay considers Rhode Island’s U.S. Senate race as Washington, D.C. slouches toward the fiscal precipice.

That Washington, D.C. is “broken’’ has become the campaign cliché of 2012, shouted across the land by both Democrats and Republicans. The combatants in House and Senate seats from California to Cranston point fingers of blame at each other like school children tattling at recess.

It’s time for the second rendition of my new Friday column. Thanks for reading, and as always, feel free to send me tips or thoughts at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org.

We offered highlights this morning from the new Brown poll. Here’s some additional analysis:

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse appears to be using a modified Rose Garden strategy in his campaign with Republican challenger Barry Hinckley, agreeing to a relatively sparse debate schedule.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Barry Hinckley’s campaign says he has made an advertising buy of about $500,000 in broadcast, radio and cable television time.

Republican Hinckley, of Newport, says the advertising will begin Aug. 29 and run through Election Day, Nov. 6, in his campaign to unseat incumbent Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse.

1. Republican Senate candidate Barry Hinckley says Rhode Islanders don’t much care about campaign finance reform. “I have been around for 16 months, traveling Rhode Island,” Hinckley said during a press event yesterday. “Not one person has brought up campaign finance reform to me, not one, in 16 months.”

UPDATE: Whitehouse strikes back.

Shortly after the end of Hinckley’s news conference this afternoon, Whitehouse released a statement criticizing the GOP:

Today, for a second day in a row, Senate Republicans blocked debate on the DISCLOSE Act, a bill to end secret spending in elections by corporations and other groups.  The vote failed to overcome a filibuster by a vote of 53 in favor to 45 against.  60 votes were required.  Following the vote, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) released the following statement:

Republican Barry Hinckley continues to lag far behind the fundraising pace set by Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, but Hinckley says he’ll have enough money to get his message out on the way to the November election.

Whitehouse campaign says it raised 450K+ in Q2; 3.5M+ COH

Jul 12, 2012

No surprise here, but Sheldon Whitehouse isn’t hurting for cash as he gets into campaign mode:

Whitehouse for Senate today announced that it will report over $3.5 million cash on hand for Senator Whitehouse’s re-election campaign, after raising more than $450,000 in the second fundraising quarter of 2012. In addition, the grassroots campaign has submitted over 3,500 nomination signatures from people representing every city and town across Rhode Island so the Senator can appear on the ballot in November.  

Tony Simon, deputy state director for US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, is leaving that position to run the freshman senator’s re-election campaign, RIPR has learned.