2014 governor's race

Ian Donnis/File Photo

The Center for Public Integrity, a non-partisan investigative group in Washington, DC, says Rhode Island led the nation in the amount of spending per voter on political ads so far in 2014.

Pennsylvania led the country with the most overall spending on political ads, with more than $37 million dollars, and Rhode Island placed 15th in that category. Yet the CPI says the Ocean State’s hard-fought Democratic gubernatorial primary sparked the most spending per-voter on campaign commercials.

Gubernatorial candidates Gina Raimondo and Allan Fung have agreed to do a limited number of joint appearances and televised debates before the general election.  A coalition of environmental groups is disappointed its invitation for a debate didn’t make the list.

With more than a hint of fall in the air, the general election candidates are driving toward the finish line. So sit back, take a read of my weekly notes, feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and take a gander at the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Gina Raimondo’s top two Democratic primary rivals expressed their support for her during a unity event in Cranston Friday. The gathering took place in the home city of Raimondo’s GOP opponent, Allan Fung.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung joins Bonus Q+A to talk about his campaign, whether his tax plan adds up, whether it was a mistake to support making Rhode Island a right to work state, and much more.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss his win over Ken Block last week; his general election race against Gina Raimondo; Moderate Party candidate Robert Healey's place on the ballot; and the race for mayor of Providence.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras says he has no regrets about his thwarted campaign for governor, nor does he wish he sought a second term as mayor. He’s is officially throwing his support behind General Treasurer Gina Raimondo in the Governor’s race.


The state Board of Elections will hold a hearing Wednesday on whether Bob Healey can run as the Moderate Party’s candidate for governor. The state GOP is fighting the Moderate Party’s move for Healey to replace James Spooner, who bowed out of the race for health reasons.

The secretary of state’s office says the thousand signatures Spooner collected to get on the ballot can transfer to Healey, but the state GOP says that circumvents the nominating process.

In a sign of more labor support for Gina Raimondo's Democratic gubernatorial run, Service Employees International Union, 1199 NE, has endorsed Raimondo. The union represents more than 4,000 healthcare and service workers in Rhod Island.

In a statement, 1199's executive president, Patrick Quinn, says, “Gina Raimondo understands that the private sector and the public sector need to work in tandem for the economy to grow. Strategic investment in people and industries are the way to grow the RI economy and close the growing income gap."

Did Rhode Island's primary election on Tuesday reflect a repudiation of the status quo or a reinforcement of political norms? A fair bit of each, as it turns out, dear reader. So consider the evidence presented below, feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and stay tuned on the twitters for more of my dispatches as we move toward November 4. 


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.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Powered by the top-spending campaign, state Treasurer Gina Raimondo scored a decisive Democratic gubernatorial victory over her two main rivals Tuesday, in a campaign dominated by debate about Rhode Island's long-suffering economy and the pension overhaul spearheaded by Raimondo in 2011.

Unofficials returns showed Raimondo with 42.2 percent of the vote, compared with 29.2 percent for Angel Taveras, and 26.9 percent for Clay Pell

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.

If Gina Raimondo wins Tuesday's Democratic primary, she'll be a step closer to becoming Rhode Island's first woman governor, the victory will validate her far-flung network of supporters, and Raimondo's already-considerable national profile will soar to new heights.

But what if Raimondo, the favorite on the Democratic side of the race, were to lose?


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.