Take your pick: Last night’s televised WPRI debate between 1st Congressional District Democratic candidates, U.S. Rep. David Cicilline and challenger Anthony Gemma was A) a reality TeeVee show disguised as political dialogue, B) a Saturday Night Live parody of a congressional debate or C) both.
We will choose C, but only because the scene, as watched on television, contained elements of farce and the repellent nastiness that too often infects political theater these days.
One of our favorite ProJo reporters is Washington correspondent John Mulligan, who is covering the Republican National convention in Tampa and doing his usual fine job on the national political beat.
But I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at Johnny’s piece today on Page One of the Projo. The article deals with the latest Republican anti-Obama trope: That if you built a business, you don’t deserve credit because the government helped.
Joseph Lazzerini, who says he was Anthony Gemma’s field director and a paid staffer until he quit August 8, says in a statement released moments ago that he left the campaign because of a homophobic atmosphere at the Gemma campaign office.
Lazzerini, formerly of Providence, says he now lives in South Attleboro.
His statement reads:
“I’ve been following the unfortunate events that unfolded today between the Gemma campaign and the Democratic Party of Rhode Island. As a former Gemma campaign staffer, I felt it was important to issue the following statement:’’
Incumbent Democratic Congressman David Cicilline holds a double-digit lead over his primary opponent, businessman Anthony Gemma, according to a WPRI-Channel 12 public opinion survey released tonight.
The survey of 302 registered voters in the First Congressional District shows Cicilline with 43 percent, Gemma at 31 percent, about 20 percent undecided and 4 percent supporting perennial candidate Christopher Young. A similar Channel 12 poll in May gave Cicilline a 4 point lead over Gemma.
UPDATE: The Associated Press is reporting that Gemma has dismissed Sionni from the campaign. A Gemma spokesman called Sionni’s Twitter comments “inappropriate” and said Sionni, who was not paid, would no longer be working on Gemma’s campaign.
Former 1st District Rep. Patrick Kennedy will campaign with Congressman David Cicilline in the run up to the Sept. 11th Democratic primary for U.S. House in the 1st District.
Kennedy will join Cicilline on the campaign circuit the week of Sept. 9th. “I’ve known David Cicilline for years and I am incredibly proud of the work that he has already done since we sent him to serve in Congress,’’ Kennedy said in a statement. “No one has been working harder than David to get our state back on the right track and put Rhode Islanders back to work.
Do Rhode Islanders have an unquenchable thirst for campaign nuttiness? From the reaction of both mainstream media and talk show wacko world to Anthony Gemma’s latest skewed salvo, one might think so.
The talk show babblers are in full throat. The ProJo’s front page Thursday morning ran Gemma’s nonsense as if WW III was imminent. Practically the entire city room was assigned a piece of the story. In the end, the article did very little to advance the issue.
Readers knew no more about the Gemma allegations Thursday morning than they did Wednesday afternoon.
Democratic Congressional candidate Anthony Gemma says there is widespread voter fraud in Providence. RIPR’s Scott MacKay reminds us that such allegations aren’t new in Rhode Island.
Charges of voter suppression, chicanery and outright bribery are as Rhode Island as frozen lemonade, quahogs and Narragansett Bay.
Our state’s long and florid political history is salted with jousts over who should be allowed to vote, whose votes count the most and campaign tactics straight from the underside of the Tammany-Hall genre of electioneering.
While Anthony Gemma used gobs of free media Wednesday on voter fraud allegations that may or may not have credence, incumbent Congressman David Cicilline is hewing to traditional Democratic campaign themes in the run up to next month’s primary for the party’s nomination for U.S. Rep. in the First Congressional District.
In campaign direct mail, Cicilline is courting women voters and taking aim at Gemma’s anti-abortion comments in an interview on a local radio talk show. Gemma called himself “pro-life’’ in an appearance on the Helen Glover program in April.