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.
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.
Providence City Council President Mike Solomon has called Jorge Elorza to congratulate Elorza on winning the Democratic mayoral nomination. Elorza now faces Republican Dan Harrop and independent Buddy Cianci in the November general election.
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.