Doherty hits Cicilline in new ad on eve of poll as race tightensOctober 1st, 2012 at 9:21 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
Doherty’s campaign went on the air Monday with its first TV attack ad of the campaign, “The Truth About David Cicilline,” a 30-second spot that shows anonymous people criticizing the congressman. “I voted for David Cicilline the last time, and that is not gonna happen again,” the last speaker says.
The new commercial was released nearly three weeks after Cicilline’s campaign began attacking Doherty on air as a “Romney Republican” and amid mounting evidence the race has tightened significantly since February, when the Republican had a 15-point edge over the freshman Democrat.
Three polls released by Cicilline and his allies have showed the congressman ahead, while Doherty’s own internal polling showed him with a slim lead. The new WPRI 12 poll by Joe Fleming – the first independent survey done in the Cicilline-Doherty race since February – will be released at 6 p.m. Monday.
David Wasserman, who covers U.S. House races for The Cook Political Report, said last week he may follow the lead of fellow forecaster Larry Sabato and change his prediction on the race from toss-up. He wrote:
Early this year, it seemed like Cicilline was so far behind former Rhode Island State Police Superintendent Brendan Doherty that he would fritter away a safe Democratic seat. Now that Cicilline survived his primary, he’s pivoted quickly to linking Doherty to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and there’s some evidence it’s been working. Two Democratic polls show Cicilline back in front with a lead in the high single digits, while Republicans contend Cicilline is still loathed by many voters and the race is still close.
In his analysis, Wasserman said Democrats “will likely need to pick up between 35 and 40 Republican-held seats” to win control of the House because some of their own members are in trouble. He linked Cicilline with Massachusetts Congressman John Tierney as two New England Democrats “whose districts shouldn’t ever be on our ratings chart but who have only themselves to blame for their dicey predicaments.”
“The slow drip of negative press surrounding Tierney’s wife’s involvement in her brother’s offshore gambling operation has forced Tierney to try to change the subject to the Tea Party, while negative press engulfing Cicilline’s management of Providence as mayor has given Republicans an exceedingly rare opening in Rhode Island,” he wrote. “Polling in Tierney’s district seems contradictory, while there’s some evidence Cicilline has climbed his way out of an early hole in Rhode Island.”
Separately, Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill on Sunday listed Cicilline as one of “the 10 House Democrats Republicans would love to beat.” The publication rates the race as a toss-up. Cicilline and Doherty will meet for a live WPRI 12 debate at the Providence Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, Oct. 16.
• Related: Preview the poll questions WPRI 12 asked RI voters (Oct. 1)