2014 governer's race

Ian Donnis / RIPR

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is slated to return to Rhode Island to campaign Tuesday with Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung.  First Lady Michelle Obama is expected here later in the week.

Christie stumped for Fung in Johnston earlier this month, and pledged to return. Plans call for Christie to visit some Federal Hill merchants this afternoon and to tour businesses in Cranston. An advisory says reporters will be able to speak with Christie, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, only at the second event.

On the heels of a heated debate, the front runners in the race for governor continued the sparring Wednesday.

Republican Allan Fung is criticizing Democratic rival Gina Raimondo for not having attending a board meeting of Rhode Island Housing in more than a year. Given a series of problems at the agency, Fung says Raimondo should have personally attended meetings to offer oversight.

There are few places better than Rhode Island in the summer -- and that's doubly true for political junkies thanks to our very busy election season. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column, and feel free to share your tips and thoughts via idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org. You can also follow me all week long on the twitters. Let's get to it.

Welcome back to my weekly column, and thanks for stopping by. Your tips and thoughts are always welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me all week long on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Clay Pell says the top goals of his education plan include cutting the high school dropout rate and relieving debt for college students.

Pell outlined his vision Wednesday as children played outside the Agnes Hennessey elementary school in  East Providence.

Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Your tips, insights, and thoughts are always welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me on the twitters, too. We're up to something special this week. (Why Ghost Dog? It's a riff on my nickname of being the I-Dog) So let's get right to it ....

A leading Rhode Island Republican is calling on GOP voters to keep an open mind about their two choices in this year’s primary.

By using his Facebook page, former gubernatorial candidate John Robitaille is urging GOP voters to focus on deciding whether Allan Fung or Ken Block has the best plan for moving Rhode Island forward. He says the candidates’ courage and personal authenticity are more important than internal politics within the state Republican Party.


Political pundits love to emphasize that campaigns matter.  Clay Pell better hope that adage rings true if he hopes to be Rhode Island’s next governor, says our resident pundit, RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay.

Herbert Claiborne `Clay’ Pell  IV is the grandson of a legendary Rhode Island U.S. Senator, a Harvard University graduate  and at just 32 years old, possessor of a resume that would be the envy of many a decade or two older.

Benjamin Bryant / RIPR

Providence Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Angel Taveras announced his plan Thursday to raise the state’s minimum wage over the course of the next four years; should he be elected governor.

At the start of the New Year, Rhode Island’s minimum wage went from $7.75 cents to 8 bucks. Now Taveras wants the state to incrementally raise its minimum wage to ten dollars ten-cents by 2018.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Allan Fung, the three-term mayor of Cranston, unveiled himself Monday as Rhode Island's Great Republican Hope, emphasizing his plan for improving the state's economy and education system while paying homage to his family's immigrant roots in kicking off his long-anticipated run for governor.

John Bender / RIPR

The founder of the Moderate Party of Rhode Island is scrapping that effort to instead run for governor as a Republican. Ken Block got six and a half percent of the vote as a Moderate candidate for governor in 2010.

When he established the Moderate Party in 2008, Block called it a pragmatic and centrist way to improve Rhode Island politics. But Block says he’s realized that third parties aren’t an effective way to make change.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras -- who faces a fundraising disadvantage in his expected Democratic gubernatorial primary battle next year with state Treasurer Gina Raimondo -- is calling on Raimondo to shun third-party spending by sources including super PACs and national and state party committees. Raimondo's campaign organization says Taveras' pitch "isn't a good faith offer."

John Bender / RIPR

The newly elected chair of the Rhode Island Democratic Party is our guest on Political Roundtable this week.  David Caprio weighs in on his problems with organized labor, a potentially fractious gubernatorial primary and his goals for the party that dominates Rhode Island politics. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Flo Jonic is filling in for Ian Donnis as moderator.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@ripr.org

A new Brown University poll shows state Treasurer Gina Raimondo leading Providence Mayor Angel Taveras among likely Democratic primary voters.  Raimondo and Taveras are expected to square off in a gubernatorial primary next September.

Brown pollsters talked with 433 likely Democratic primary voters. In a two-way matchup, 42 percent of respondents say they’d vote for Raimondo, just under 34 percent prefer Taveras, and 24 percent were undecided. That poll has a margin of error of four and a half percentage points.

Here's how a Rolling Stone headline sums up muckraker Matt Taibbi's story on the pension overhaul championed in Rhode Island by state Treasurer Gina Raimondo in 2011: "Looting Pension Funds. All Across America, Wall Street is grabbing money meant for public workers."

The first comment from Raimondo comes eight pages into the story, the equivalent of an 11-page printout, after Taibbi presents his case in his signature profanity-laden style.