Dee DeQuattro (@DeeDeQuattro)
Where in the world is Buddy Cianci? Seriously, is he running? On Monday, Cianci was the only candidate missing from a Providence Mayoral forum. Either he was not invited or he is not taking this race seriously. He may have the best name recognition but it doesn’t mean he is going to walk into office. Cianci needs to get a move on and get out in the community, if not we all might tuning in to him on the radio again in November.
In it to win it
Speaking of Providence Mayor, Republican Dan Harrop announced that he is the best candidate for mayor and despite earlier contemplation; he will not leave the race after all. Instead Harrop will face Cianci and the Democratic candidate in November.
Staying in the capital city, City Council candidate Michael Long, a Cranston cop and Afghanistan veteran, filed an ethics complaint against Council President and Mayoral Candidate Michael Solomon for not disclosing financial statements, one being an unpaid loan from the Providence Economic Development Partnership. Good catch if it sticks but the problem is most folks don’t really pay attention to ethics complaints. In fact most Rhode Islanders don’t even know what ethics are, let alone politicians, (see the top entry). Either way, Long scores for getting media play and soliciting a response, even if by statement.
Pay for playa
Speaking of ethics, Common Cause Rhode Island has filed a complaint against State Representative Peter Palumbo for his involvement in sketchy beach bids with former Democratic Chairman David Caprio. Common Cause says Palumbo violated ethics rules barring General Assembly member from state employment. The group says bidding on the contract was equivalent to applying for a state job. It’s a long shot for the group and something tells me Palumbo isn’t the only Rhode Island lawmaker making plays at state contracts.
Hey, look at me! Please?
On a state wide level, Attorney General Peter Kilmartin opened his campaign offices this week, but alas no one is really paying attention to the Attorney General’s race.
Swing and a diss
The Governor’s race heated up this week. Providence Mayor Angel Taveras took the first swings at Clay Pell and the ad is pretty effective. It paints Pell as a bumbling fool who can’t hold a job and is out of touch with Rhode Island. Pell’s campaign responded by saying they are going to stay out of the fray and not fire back. Nonetheless, on Friday, the campaign did respond with their own ad taking a more subtle shot at Taveras referring to his tactics as “the same old politics.” He then encourages voters to reject the political attacks and focus on the ideas. Score for Pell. While the Taveras ad is absolutely effective, Pell’s staying out of the fray technique is effective as well. It makes him look like a new kind of politician. Ultimately, its for the voters to decided whether they believe in Pell or believe the ad.
The buck stops (w)here?
Meanwhile, Pell doesn’t really need to lob attacks at Taveras. He has Gina Raimondo to do that and she does have the most money. Ultimately Raimondo made out on top this week, again. First Taveras is bloodying Pell--and not Gina--this week, and as the violence in Providence plays out in the media, a lot of questioning eyes are turning toward the mayor. So what if it's not the Mayor’s fault that there is gang activity in the city. He is the mayor and people want someone to blame. Although the city has produced numbers showing that violent crime is down, it sure doesn’t look that way to people across the state. Taveras may be popular in the city but people in the suburbs are getting freaked out by all the violence and a lot of them are looking at the Mayor for answers.
The win of the week goes to Seth Magaziner. Here is Rhode Island it is all about who you know and Magaziner and his family know the Clintons well. Magaziner announced this week that Former President Bill Clinton will be in Rhode Island at the end of the month to stump for him. This is a win on a few levels. First, since when does a former president pay attention to a General Treasurer race in the smallest state in the nation? Secondly, it’s a devastating blow to Magaziner’s challenger Frank Caprio who brought Bill Clinton to town twice when he was campaigning to be governor of Rhode Island. I guess Bill lost faith in Frank after he lost--or he thinks Caprio would be a great governor but not Treasurer? Caprio had painted himself as Clinton’s boy and this visit shatters that perception.
Some Rhode Islanders win this week as they head into a three day weekend because Monday is VJ DAY. Yes, little Rhody is the only state to celebrate this holiday, that marks the United States’ victory over Japan in WWII. While state workers and public offices are closed, us jerks in the private sector still have work. If you have it off enjoy, if not don’t feel too bad labor day is less than a month away.
Dee Dequattro is a WBOB political columnist and reporter for ABC 6 (WLNE)