Dee DeQuattro (@DeeDeQuattro)
Every Friday, WBOB political columnist Dee DeQuattro breaks down the winners (and losers) of the week in Rhode Island politics.
Brett Smiley took one for the team last night as he announced in a private conference call with key staffers and supporters that he was going to abandon his run for Mayor and endorse Jorge Elorza. Smiley has ran a pretty strong campaign and his television ads were some of the best this election cycle. Ultimately the candidate dropped out as part of an effort to prevent Buddy Cianci from being elected to Mayor again. The thinking is a united front will be stronger and better apt to take on Cianci.
¿Quién es usted, Buddy?
While Smiley has the witty ads, Elorza has one thing Smiley doesn’t have; a last name that resonates with the minority community in Providence. With Smiley behind him, Elorza has a strong shot of bringing down City Council President Michael Solomon in the primary. Then Elorza would move on to face off against Cianci. Cianci has been courting Providence’s Latino population but it is unclear if that will be enough to compete against Elorza who is a member of a minority group himself. Angel Taveras was the first candidate to really capitalize on the latino community and mobilize them. If Elorza can do the same, he has a strong chance of being the next Mayor.
Antipasto and politics
Meanwhile Buddy is no joke, he is still hugely popular in Providence, and it is clear the Democrats realize this. Cianci has not even really begun to campaign and we can expect him to ratchet up his efforts after the primary. Let the games begin.
Outside of Providence: Rhode Island loses this week. It is literally shameful that pollsters will not even bother polling the Republican primary because it is too expensive and too hard to call individuals likely to vote in the Republican Primary. Seriously?!!? That seems a little unreal. You can’t just poll 500 Republicans and take a poll of the GOP governor’s race? If things are that unequal in Rhode Island it is just downright sad.
General Treasurer Gina Raimondo has released a new ad and it’s a win. The ad features Raimondo and Rhode Island staple “Narragansett Beer.” The ad brings Rhode Islanders back to the glory days and then touts Raimondo’s efforts in helping to bring Narragansett beer back to Rhode Island. She also claims she helped create over 1,000 jobs. Her opponent Angel Taveras is citing to Politico saying that it’s not true but the Providence Journal Politifact Check says it is in fact true. Her company Point Judith Capital did help create more than 1,000 jobs when she was a partner.
Play nice, boys!
Meanwhile, John Robitaille has resigned his delegacy with the Rhode Island Republican Party. This is a devastating loss for the GOP. Expect more people to leave the party as the drama over the primary wages on. People in and out of the Republican Party are getting a bit disenfranchised. No one wants to here another Block's showboating press conference at a diner or at a police station rallying against Fung for things everyone already knows and no one wants to hear about -- voting for Obama. We have three weeks left, let’s focus on the issues boys.
The back-and-forth waged on this week as a supporter of Block likened the “Girls Just Want to Have Fung” group to Nazis on Facebook. The post went viral and the Fung Campaign reacted. It’s never cool to call anyone a Nazi, especially when they are exercising their constitutional rights to be engaged in government. These girls are nothing like a group of people who tried to decimate the Jewish population -- and the person making this post knew that. The problem is the frustration within the Republican Party is boiling over and everyone seems to be doing things they are not proud of.
The Republicans could take a lesson from Smiley and Elorza who have now united for what they believe is the greater good.
Subscription for victory
Meanwhile, Seth Magaziner wins this week literally. He has a huge lead over former General treasurer Frank Caprio in the General Treasurers race. This must be a blow to Caprio who was believed to be a shoe in. Magaziner has a lot of money to spend and he is spending it and getting his name out there.
This might be a turning point for Rhode Island. They no longer want to elect the Caprios. Meanwhile, the Caprios are having a second political fall from grace. The first fall from grace came when David Caprio lost his re-election bid in the primary and then Frank Caprio placed third in the Governors race. This time David Caprio was disgraced as he resigned from the Democratic Party as State Police came in to investigate his beach concession stand contracts.
Fore our troops!
That said have a great weekend! I am going to be on the golf course at the Operation Stand Down Golf Tournament this weekend. Don’t worry they don’t let me actually golf--that would be dangerous, I am more of a cheerleader. Have a great weekend the forecast is looking great and the political forecast for next week is heating up. See you then.
Dee Dequattro is a WBOB political columnist and reporter for ABC 6 (WLNE)