Allan Fung

Michael J. Sepe, Cranton's longtime Democratic City Chairman, is running to be mayor in Cranston's November 2016 election. The move comes as Mayor Allan Fung faces the fallout of a State Police report criticizing management of the city's Police Department and the city administration.

TGIF is back in the swing of RI politics after a relaxing summer break. So thanks for stopping by, and feel free to share your tips and thoughts at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Let's dive in.

Gov. Gina  Raimondo’s first budget proposes stripping about $2.5 million in state Payments-in-lieu of Taxes aid from Providence city government and another $1.1 million in such payments from Cranston. If you believe the General Assembly is going to allow these cuts you probably believe in the Easter Bunny.

Raimondo’s problem: The communities being hit on this one happen to be home to two of the most influential state lawmakers –House Speaker Nick Mattiello, D-Cranston, and House Majority Leader John DeSimone, D-Providence.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung has named a new Director of Administration for the city.  Robert Coupe is a corporate lawyer with a private practice.  

Coupe also served as an attorney for the state of Massachusetts under former governor Mitt Romney.  Coupe served as spokesman for Fung during his unsuccessful bid for Rhode Island governor.     

Mayor Fung said he selected Coupe because, “he offers the right combination of strong public policy experience with a private-sector commitment to promoting greater efficiency and accountability in city government.” 

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Jorge Elorza this afternoon will be inaugurated Providence’s mayor. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay parses the challenges the new mayor faces.

After impressive primary and general election  victories, law professor Elorza takes over the spacious second-floor office in the capital city’s Beaux-Arts City Hall. Since his election he has wisely reached out to the city’s warring political and ethnic tribes as he prepares to govern a 21st Century ancient New England port that had its beginnings in the 17th Century.

Rhode Island bade farewell and paid tribute today to former state Sen. Lila Sapinsley, a liberal Republican who became the first woman Senate Minority Leader, at funeral services at Temple Beth-El  in the Providence East Side district that she so ably represented.

Sapinsley, who died earlier this week at her Laurelmead home at 92, was eulogized by Rabbi Leslie Y. Gutterman as a path breaking woman of compassion, accomplishment and conviction.

RIPR FILE

Democrat Gina Raimondo outspent Republican rival Allan Fung by a more than 2-to-1 margin during the 2014 campaign. Raimondo will be sworn in as governor January 6th.

Raimondo spent more than five million dollars as part of her winning run for governor. She beat Fung on a 4-point margin in the November 4th election. Fung himself spent about $2 million during the campaign.  The two candidates have almost exhausted their accounts. Raimondo has just less than $50 thousand left in her war chest, while Fung has about $66 thousand.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Once again, Rhode Islanders have elected a governor with far less than a majority of the vote. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders what we can do about this.

The boisterous cheers among delirious Democrats crammed into the Providence Biltmore’s 17th floor ballroom on election night have barely quieted. You can’t blame them for hoisting drinks and shouting themselves hoarse:  Gina Raimondo became the first woman to win election as Rhode Island's  governor and the only Democrat to capture the state’s highest elected office since 1992.

FILE / RIPR

Allan Fung said despite losing his bid for governor, he’s proud of the race he ran. Fung’s democratic rival Gina Raimondo won the race with just 40 percent of the vote. Fung said maybe it’s time for runoff elections.

"The moose was on the loose," is how Fung describes the 22 percent gleaned by Moderate Party candidate Bob Healey, referring to Healey’s days as the cool moose candidate.  Fung’s main opponent, Gina Raimondo, is the second consecutive governor elected with less than 50 percent of the vote.

John Bender / RIPR

Gina Raimondo spent her first day as governor-elect meeting with constituents on Federal Hill.  And she’s now focusing on transitioning into state’s highest office.

Raimondo won’t say who will be on her team as she moves forward, or who in the current administration will be let go.  Though she said she hopes the Chafee administration will hold off on major staffing decisions, such as the education commissioner’s post, so that she can have a say once she assumes office in January.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

At the Democratic victory party at the Providence Biltmore Hotel late last night, no one had a wider smile than Kate Coyne McCoy, the longtime advocate for electing women to political office in Rhode Island and around the nation.

``Twenty years ago, I was walking up the stairs to this room (the 17th floor ballroom, where media and pols meet on election night) with Myrth York,’’ recalled Coyne McCoy. ``It was an awful night.’’

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Gina Raimondo made history Tuesday night as the first woman to get elected as governor of Rhode Island. Raimondo is also the first Democrat to win the state’s top job in 22 years.

Raimondo beat Republican rival Allan Fung with unofficial numbers showing her with 40 percent to Fung’s 36 percent, with Moderate Party candidate Robert Healey drawing 22 percent of the vote.

Latest talk among Democratic operatives: Optimism about Elorza in Providence, worry about Raimondo in governor's race. If she loses there will be lots of second-guessing her general election campaign.

The Rhode Island gubernatorial election between Democrat Gina Raimondo and Republican Allan Fung has become much closer than anyone thought even a month ago. Raimondo’s lackluster general election campaign, which followed a very well done primary effort, is surely part of her problem.

It's almost all over but the crying. After years of run-up, Rhode Island's 2014 election is at hand. So thanks for stopping by, and feel free to drop me a line (idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org) and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

RIPR FILE

Why have political campaigns become so relentlessly negative? RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it reflects the cynicism of the times and the way political money is raised and spent.

Click the television remote as many times as you like but don’t expect to escape the nasty political spots running nonstop until the polls close tomorrow. Hike to the mailbox and you’re greeted by an avalanche of political flyers spreading dirt on one politician or another. Ditto for the Internet.

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