Taveras agrees to host March fundraiser for ‘thrilled’ CicillineFebruary 29th, 2012 at 10:28 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, who has spent nearly a year sounding lukewarm at best about supporting predecessor David Cicilline’s tough congressional re-election bid, is getting off the sidelines.
Taveras has put his name on an invitation to a fundraiser for Cicilline to be held on March 29 at the home of Providence philanthropists John and Letitia Carter, WPRI.com has confirmed. The news is a welcome shot in the arm for the Cicilline campaign after a new WPRI 12 poll shows him trailing Republican Brendan Doherty by 15 points.
“We’re thrilled to have Mayor Taveras’ support as the campaign begins to ramp up,” Cicilline spokeswoman Nicole Kayner told WPRI.com on Wednesday. “David is proud to work with the mayor as the two of them work hard to get things done for Rhode Island.”
Taveras isn’t the only popular Democrat standing by the embattled congressman: Treasurer Gina Raimondo and her husband are also listed as members of the host committee for the March 29 event. Hosts are contributing $2,500 each, with other donors giving $1,000 and $500.
Other bold-faced names on Cicilline’s host committee include House Speaker Gordon Fox, a close friend of Cicilline’s; former House Majority Leader George Caruolo, an influential outside adviser to Taveras; and three-time failed gubernatorial candidate Myrth York.
The intertwined political fortunes of Cicilline and Taveras have gone in starkly different directions over the past year, as Taveras won plaudits for tackling a $110 million structural deficit he found upon taking office while Cicilline took flack for leaving the capital city in a mess, a charge he denies. A recent Brown University poll showed 43% of voters think Cicilline is doing a poor job while only 7% think that about Taveras.
Last May, Taveras raised eyebrows among political observers when he declined to support Cicilline on WPRI 12′s “Newsmakers,” saying he’d “cross that bridge when we get there.” As recently as October, the mayor was the only leading Rhode Island Democrat not listed as a co-host for a major Cicilline fundraiser.
“Listen, I’ve said before that I’d make a decision,” Taveras said on “Newsmakers” earlier this month. “I expect to support the congressman when he runs for Congress and re-election, and so we’ll work together, because we really need a Democratic Congress and that’s very important, and I know he’s committed to doing everything he can to help the city of Providence.”
A spokesman for the mayor was not immediately available to comment on his decision to join the Cicilline fundraiser’s host committee.
Taveras himself made a bid for Congress in 2000 but lost the Democratic nomination to Jim Langevin. Cicilline appointed Taveras as a Providence Housing Court judge in 2007, a position he held until he stepped down to run for mayor in 2010. Both men are attorneys who graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington.
Other members of the host committee for Cicilline’s March 29 fundraiser include GTECH Chairman Don Sweitzer; R.I. Board of Governors for Higher Education chairman Lornie Adrain and his wife, novelist Ann Hood; Newport art dealer Bill Vareika; lawyer Malcolm “Mac” Farmer III; Dr. Steven Blazar; as well as spouses and partners.
As of Dec. 31, Cicilline’s campaign had $517,687 on hand and Doherty’s had $482,327, according to Federal Election Commission filings. Anthony Gemma, an outsider businessman who came in second to Cicilline in the 2010 Democratic primary, has strongly hinted he may challenge the incumbent again this year.
• Related: Doherty stays hot on Cicilline’s heels in RI-1 money race (Feb. 1)
(photo: Cicilline’s office)