2014 Democratic primary

Continuing the themes of her gubernatorial campaign, Gov. Gina Raimondo took office as Rhode Island’s first female governor this afternoon with a pledge to work diligently to improve the state’s struggling economy.

Raimondo, 43, a Rhodes Scholar and Harvard University graduate, projected optimism and a can-do attitude as she delivered her inaugural address under snow flurries and a January chill on the south steps of the State House.

Elorza, the Democratic mayoral nominee, has picked up two building trades union endorsements – Ironworkers Local 37 and the International Painters and Allied Trades District Council 11.

``Jorge understands the challenges working families face and he has a plan to create good-paying blue collar jobs in Providence,’’ said Scott Duhamel, business representative of UPAT District 11. ``Jorge will act with a sense of urgency to take Providence in a new direction that benefits every resident in every neighborhood. We look forward to helping him win on November 4.’’

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island has been a laggard in electing women to high office. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay  on why that may change on November 4.

By most measures, Rhode Island is one of America’s most liberal and deepest blue of the 50 states. Our Washington, D.C. delegation is all-Democratic and no Republican holds any statewide or federal elected office.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The primaries are over and now it’s time for the main event. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay parses the Rhode Island campaign for governor.

Rhode Island voters will make history in November by choosing either Republican Allan Fung or Democrat Gina Raimondo as their next governor. Raimondo would be the first woman governor;  Fung would be the first Asian-American.


Every election has winners and losers. Yesterday’s Rhode Island primaries fit that mold on steroids.

On the Republican side, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung forged a comfortable win over Ken Block, the angry Barrington businessman. The GOP primary voters favored a mayor who had a record against an outsider who promised little more than putting the bully in Bully Pulpit and campaigned as if being governor was all about arousing public opinion to fight the Statehouse establishment.

Anthony Pesaturo, the veteran pollster and political consultant, and Andrew Annaldo, former Democratic city councilman and mayoral candidate, are conducting exit polls today at voting precincts in the Elmhurst and Mt. Pleasant neighborhoods of Providence. The neighborhoods are redoubts of old Providence, the city of Italian and Irish Americans, but a smattering of Latinos have moved in recent years. (Mayor Angel Taveras and his family live there, as does City Council President Michael Solomon).It has long been a Democratic Party redoubt.


Final musings Sunday a.m. before church and the Patriots opener.  Pats provide welcome respite to politics as the hours dwindle until Tuesday.

The biggest question in the Democratic gubernatorial primary is whether Clay Pell is incurring some last-minute cuts. His debate performances in the final week were underwhelming. And the revelation that he was a registered Republican when he lived in Arizona isn’t going to help him. Neither will the news that his skating queen wife, Michelle Kwan, was also registered with the GOP when she lived in California.

Tomorrow is primary election day in the Ocean State. More than 700,000 of us are registered to vote. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay worries that too many won’t show up. (This is Scott's essay that airs Monday on RIPR).

Election Day was once a grand pageant. It was both spectator and participant sport. In the words  of Theodore White, the noted chronicler of mid-20th century American politics, decision day was a ``great stirring.’’

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Clay Pell was a registered Republican as a young man in Arizona.  Pell registered as a Democrat when he moved to Newport in 2003.

Pell says he registered as a Republican at age 17 because that was the party of his parents. Pell has described himself in this campaign as the progressive Democrat in the race, and he says there’s no contradiction between that message his earlier GOP affiliation.

One of the oldest chestnuts in close political campaigns is that the candidate who has the best last week wins.

That applies to the two elections that appear to be going down to the wire: The Democratic primaries for governor and Providence mayor.

In Providence, the contest between newcomer Jorge Elorza, a former Housing Court judge, and City Council President Michael Solomon looks like a nail-biter at this point.  Solomon advantages:  more money, a track record in City Hall and what ought to be a better get-out-the-vote operation.

Aaron Read, RIPR

When politicians want to launch nasty, negative messages about their opponents, they often choose direct mail because it leaves fewer fingerprints than such other media as television, radio or print.

That looks like the path State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo is traveling in the waning days of the Democratic gubernatorial primary, which takes place September 9. Her camp has fired off a mail piece that blames Providence Mayor Angel Taveras for shootings in Providence.

With two weeks until election day, Democrats Clay Pell,  Angel Taveras and Gina Raimondo stuck to familiar campaign themes and solidifying support in a spirited televised debate this evening that was long on rhetorical flourishes but short on major policy differences.

Rhode Islanders of a certain age well remember the `Hi Neighbor, Have a `Gansett’ television advertising campaign  that pushed Narragansett Beer, which in days of yore was brewed in Cranston. Now Gina Raimondo is using an old timey Narragansett commercial to tout her campaign for governor.

While pols and pundits lament the lack of competition in R.I. House elections across Rhode Island – almost half of all lawmakers are unopposed – that isn’t the case on Providence’s East Side House District 4.

The seat opened up after the incumbent, former House Speaker Gordon Fox, stepped away after his capitol office and home were raided by state and federal agents in March. Fox hasn’t been charged with any crimes yet, but he wisely decided against running again.

Three well-qualified Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination in the September 9 primary.

Aaron Read / RIPR

With three weeks to go, the Providence mayoral campaign is heating up. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on what to look for in the Democratic primary as the days dwindle down.

One of Rhode Island’s favorite spectator and participant sports has long been Providence mayor elections. A mélange of circus, street theater and rugby scrum, this year’s campaign is bound to land in the capital city’s political Hall of Fame, and perhaps, shame.