Happy New Year! Is it the dawn of a new era in Rhode Island, or just a fresh path to more of the same? The answers will come in the months and years ahead, and we'll be following them here each week. So thanks for stopping by. As always, feel free to drop me a tip or comment at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

House Minority Leader Brian Newberry (R-North Smithfield) joins Bonus Q&A to discuss the outlook for RI Republicans, his legislative priorities for 2015, what went wrong for Allan Fung, and other issues.

The gifts have been unwrapped, the eggnog raised, and now it's quick sprint to New Year's before the start of a new phase in Rhode Island politics. So thanks for stopping by. As always, feel free to share tips and thoughts at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) or to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

There are some glimmers of positive economic news as Rhode Island races toward the New Year. So thanks for stopping for my weekly column. Feel free to share your tips and thoughts at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

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.


Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung and Democratic rival Gina Raimondo sharpened their tone toward one another during their final televised debate Thursday.

Raimondo criticized Fung for being too timid in raising the funding level of one of Cranston’s municipal pensions – from 16 to about 20 percent, she said.  Raimondo accused Fung of not making the city’s full payments into the pension system.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

The three candidates for mayor of Providence took part in a spirited debate last night at Rhode Island College.  The candidates mostly rehashed their stances while tossing sharp remarks at one another.

With a boisterous audience, it didn’t take long for things to get heated between independent Buddy Cianci, Democrat Jorge Elorza, and Republican Daniel Harrop. Cianci took aim at Harrop for contributing to Elorza’s campaign and saying he might vote for the Democrat.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A new CBS/New York Times poll shows Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo leading Republican Allan Fung.

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.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Warwick is a key city in Rhode Island’s race for governor, and with 12 percent of voters still undecided, Democrat Gina Raimondo has a slight lead over Republican Allan Fung. 

As part of our Rhody Votes '14 election coverage, Rhode Island Public Radio education reporter Elisabeth Harrison sat down with a group of parents from Warwick’s Cedar Hill Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization to find out what they think of the candidates.

She started out by asking what they see as the most important issue in the governor’s race.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

President Obama has endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo.  

Raimondo’s campaign detailed the president’s support in a statement.  President Obama says Raimondo has the business experience to create jobs, and the ability to bring people together to solve tough problems.  The president was slated to appear at Rhode Island College Thursday, but canceled to focus on the ongoing Ebola crisis.

Meanwhile, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney is due to visit Providence Thursday to campaign for Raimondo’s Republican opponent, Allan Fung.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A new poll from WPRI and the Providence Journal, shows Democrat Gina Raimondo has a 6 percentage point lead over Republican Allan Fung.  

Ian Donnis / RIPR

This week, we’ve been talking with the candidates running for offices down the ballot. We've heard from the candidates running for lieutenant governor. today we start our conversations with the two running for secretary of state. It’s all part of our Rhody Votes '14 coverage. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay caught up with democrat Nellie Gorbea to discuss early voting, government transparency, and cutting red tape for new businesses.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said Friday the RGA will do everything it can help to help Allan Fung beat Democrat Gina Raimondo in the November 4 election.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

On a 4-0 vote in a closed executive session, the state Board of Elections ruled Wednesday that the Rhode Island Democratic Party didn't violate election law by spending about $90,000 from the party's federal funds for a campaign commercial that emphasizes gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo.