Clay Pell

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The televised air wars have started in the Democratic primary for governor. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders if voters are paying attention yet.

As the weeks dwindle towards the September primary, the advertising rhetoric among the major Democratic candidates has heated up. This is especially true of the campaigns of Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo.

Angel Taveras' Democratic gubernatorial campaign used a statement released Monday to press its central line of attack against his main rival, Gina Raimondo, charging she's closely aligned with Wall Street interests. Raimondo's campaign responded by disputing the message and expressing disappointment "in the increasingly personal and negative nature of the mayor's campaign."

Speaking Tuesday night at a special edition of RIPR's Political Roundtable, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras said he made "a very public mistake" when he fired every Providence public school teacher early on in his tenure as mayor.

At the time, Taveras said the firings would give the city flexibility in the midst of a financial crisis.

The Democratic candidates running for governor took part in a special, live edition of The Political Roundtable. Todd Giroux, Clay Pell, Gina Raimondo and Angel Taveras answered questions from our moderators and asked each other questions. 

You can hear the program in its three segments here:

RIPR FILE

You may be fed up with Rhode Island politics. But RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says now is no time for Rhode Islanders to retreat into a cocoon of apathy.

It’s the high season of summer in our corner of southeastern New England. A time of blue skies, fluffy whipped cream clouds and sun-washed surf. It’s what many of us consider our best season. Proust had his madeleines. Rhode Island natives have our childhood memories stirred by plates stacked high with steamers, saugys and clambakes on the beach.

Clay Pell, one of three Democrats vying for his party’s nomination for governor, is urging Gov. Lincoln Chafee to sign into law three education-related measures approved by the General Assembly in the waning hours of the 2014 legislative session.

The first would place a moratorium on the use of high-stakes tests as a graduation requirement. The other would change teacher evaluations and the third would provide full funding for all-day kindergarten in Rhode Island communities.

There won't be a Rhode Island Democratic Party in this year's hard-fought primary between Gina Raimondo, Angel Taveras, and Clay Pell.

In a note to Democratic state reps yesterday, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello writes, "In preparation for the Rhode Island Democratic Party's Endorsement Meeting on Sunday night, I wanted to inform you that the three major candidates for Governor have agreed to a 'no endorsement' from the party."

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island’s modern political history is filled with bitter Democratic primaries for governor. But RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay  says this campaign season it is the Republicans who are bashing each other.

Rhode Island voters have not elected a Democratic governor since 1992, when Bruce Sundlun decisively beat Republican Betty Leonard. There are many factors contributing to this Democratic Statehouse futility.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The three major Democratic candidates for governor offered their views on jobs, education and other issues during an hour-long debate Tuesday. The forum sponsored by WPRI and the Providence Journal came with less than three months until the September 9th primary.

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo pointed to the pension overhaul she spearheaded in 2011 as proof of her leadership skills. Raimondo said the overhaul significantly reduced Rhode Island’s long-term pension bill.

The 2014 Rhode Island campaign for governor began in earnest tonight as Democratic primary aspirants Angel Taveras, Clay Pell and Gina Raimondo met in a live televised debate on WPRI-TV that was far more remarkable for policy agreements than disagreements or the sharp, thrust-and-parry exchanges emblematic of Democratic primaries of yore.

Welcome back to my Friday column. You know summer isn't far behind when a budget emerges in the General Assembly and gubernatorial candidates increasingly take to the airwaves. Your tips and thoughts are always welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Let's get to it.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

State Representative Frank Ferri (D-Warwick), one of three Democrats running for lieutenant governor, joined Political Roundtable this week discuss his campaign and other issues, including 38 Studios and the Democratic race for governor.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A new poll shows that Angel Taveras and Gina Raimondo remain locked in tight battle in the Democratic primary for governor.  The WPRI/Providence Journal poll surveyed 506 Democratic primary voters.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Angel Taveras uses his first television commercial to emphasize family, his own humble beginnings and how hard work and sacrifice can lead to shared improvements.

While we've had a glimpse of spring and winter weather over the last week, politics remains the thing for all seasons in the Ocean State. So welcome back to my weekly column, and feel free to share your thoughts and tips at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org. You can also follow my missives all week long on the twitters. Let's get to it.

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