Sunday evening in a smoke free "back" room at the Bonefish Grille, GOP politics happened--and the beneficiary was Mayor Alan Fung.
Amidst “Young Republicans,” some of whom just graduated minutes and hours before and some not so young party regulars, Mayor Fung spoke about his plans to rebuild the economy of Rhode Island as he had worked to rebuild Cranston. Mayor Allan Fung and his GOP gubernatorial primary opponent Ken Block share similar approaches overall, Block emphasizing specific solutions, and Fung emphasizing experience as Mayor of Cranston and long time commitment to the Republican Party.
Fung’s campaign is confident he is the best candidate against whichever Democrat wins their primary. Mayor Fung himself stated that he and his team see a pathway to victory no matter who the opponent is.
Fung emphasized how his success in Cranston will translate into statewide success. He cited party affiliation among registered voters as similar to those statewide , with Democratic majorities in both cases and made the point that he has overcome that, succeeding politically and as a leader
Fung committed to build the party.
After his short remarks, Mayor Fung asked for questions from the attendees. He happily provided the answer to who he voted for in 2012: he was a Delegate for Romney
He also explained he was not able win a spot as a delegate for John McCain in 2008, but did support him.
The room erupted in Laughter as one attendee, John Deviney followed “so you saying you actually voted against President Obama twice ?"
Following the presentation, a motion was made to endorse and seconded to provide the endorsement of the RI Young Republicans to Mayor Allan Fung , that he be the parties nominee at its convention in June, and in the hope that primary voters would make Mayor Fung their choice in the September primary.
Fung won the endorsement. The vote was lopsided in his favor. I asked Pawtucket GOP City Chairman, Scott Rotondo, who was involved in organizing and running the event, if Ken Block had presented to the Young Republicans yet. Rotondo said no, but assured me that Ken Block had been respectfully invited and his campaign declined, showing me an e-mail invitation.
Party politics are filled with small back stories and intrigue. But the only story that mattered this nightt for Fung was he re-emphasized his claim to home team status. Ken Block on the other hand, released a sample of 300 voters that indicated he had made gains in name recognition and taken the lead among likely primary voters.
The GOP Convention is coming fast.