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Clinton swings through RI to boost Raimondo bid

October 24th, 2014 at 5:28 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Susan Campbell

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a full-throated endorsement to Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gina Raimondo on Friday, using a campaign rally to tie Raimondo’s themes to those Clinton may run on in a 2016 presidential bid.

Raimondo’s Republican opponent, Allan Fung, dismissed the Clinton rally as something that isn’t a big deal to most voters. He spent the morning visiting Brutopia, a brewery and restaurant in Cranston that he said demonstrated how his stewardship of that city has prepared him to improve the state’s economy.

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Outside groups pouring big money into RI gov race

October 22nd, 2014 at 10:32 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A huge amount of outside money is suddenly pouring into Rhode Island’s tight race for governor.

In the last 24 hours, two groups with no previous history in the state – one backed by the Democratic Governors Association and one backed by the Republican Governors Association – have dropped a combined $849,014 into the race to air TV ads attacking the top two candidates, Democrat Gina Raimondo and Republican Allan Fung, according to a WPRI.com review of R.I. Board of Elections filings.

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Analysis: 5 takeaways from the RI governor debate

October 21st, 2014 at 11:45 pm by under Nesi's Notes

Click here to read my five takeaways from the debate on the new WPRI.com website »


Fung, Raimondo go on the attack in first TV debate

October 21st, 2014 at 11:42 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The two leading candidates for Rhode Island governor questioned one another’s leadership skills during their first televised debate Tuesday evening, launching attacks at political decisions each has made in recent years while touting their plans to create jobs and turn the state’s lagging economy around.

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• Related: Watch the full debate on WPRI.com | Analysis: 5 takeaways from the debate


New WPRI 12/Journal Poll: Raimondo holds a slim lead

October 15th, 2014 at 4:30 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democrat Gina Raimondo has a slim lead over Republican Allan Fung in the race for Rhode Island governor, with Moderate Robert Healey pulling a meaningful share of the vote, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal survey released Wednesday shows.

The new survey of 505 likely Rhode Island voters shows Raimondo in the lead at 42%, Fung in second place at 36% and Healey far behind at 8%. An additional 12% of voters remain undecided.

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• Related: New WPRI 12/Journal Poll: Dems lead for 4 RI lower offices (Oct. 14)


NYT/CBS/YouGov Poll: Raimondo, Fung in tight race

October 11th, 2014 at 12:45 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democrat Gina Raimondo holds a slim lead over Republican Allan Fung in the race for Rhode Island governor, according to a newly released online-only poll by The New York Times, CBS News and YouGov.

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Doherty backs Raimondo as Fung stays on attack

October 9th, 2014 at 5:39 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former GOP congressional candidate Brendan Doherty announced Thursday he is backing Democrat Gina Raimondo for governor, even as his fellow Republican Allan Fung launched a new TV ad attacking her as too close to the financial sector.

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Fung has financial edge over Raimondo in gov race

October 8th, 2014 at 11:12 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Republican gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung is entering the final four weeks of the campaign with a sizable financial advantage over his Democratic rival Gina Raimondo, according to R.I. Board of Elections disclosures filed Tuesday.

Here’s how the money race is playing out for statewide offices on the ballot this year in Rhode Island.

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NJ Gov. Chris Christie to campaign for Fung in RI

October 7th, 2014 at 10:42 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – One of the nation’s most prominent Republican governors, New Jersey’s Chris Christie, will swing through Rhode Island later this week to campaign for GOP gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung in Johnston and Providence.

Separately, The New York Times reported Tuesday that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC will air TV ads to support Raimondo’s campaign as part of a $25-million push on behalf of centrist candidates nationwide.

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Fung attacks Raimondo on 38 Studios in new TV ad

September 29th, 2014 at 5:16 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Republican gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung released the first TV attack ad of the fall campaign on Monday, criticizing his Democratic rival Gina Raimondo for supporting repayment of the 38 Studios bonds. The campaign is putting $93,000 behind the ad over 10 days.

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Poll: Raimondo has slim lead over Fung for gov

September 27th, 2014 at 12:41 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democrat Gina Raimondo has a small lead over Republican Allan Fung in the race to become Rhode Island’s next governor, according to a new poll released Saturday by Rasmussen Reports that did not include Moderate Bob Healey.

The survey of 750 likely voters in Rhode Island shows Raimondo on top at 42%, with Fung a relatively close second at 37%. An additional 11% of voters said they were supporting a different candidate, while 11% said they were undecided.

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A handful of RI cities powered Raimondo and Fung victories

September 17th, 2014 at 11:59 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Raimondo Fung primary night 2014Rhode Island may have 39 cities and towns, but the state doesn’t have an Electoral College, so it doesn’t matter how many different municipalities a candidate wins – run up the score enough in a few and you could conceivably win an election while losing a majority of the 39.

That’s not what happened in last week’s Democratic and Republican gubernatorial primaries; both Gina Raimondo and Allan Fung came out on top in a majority of the 39 cities and towns, with Raimondo winning 36 of them and Fung winning 28 of them.

But a closer look at the results shows a majority of Raimondo’s votes came from just seven cities and towns, while a majority of Fung’s votes came from only eight.

Raimondo’s top three cities for votes matched the state’s top three cities for population precisely: Providence (9,738 votes), Warwick (4,387) and Cranston (3,593). Her fourth-best community was Cumberland, only the eighth-biggest by population, which gave her 3,150 votes. Add in Pawtucket (2,912), North Providence (2,599) and East Providence (2,527), and you have a majority of Raimondo’s 54,041 accounted for. Her biggest outlier was probably Central Falls, which ranks 19th by population but was 30th for Raimondo votes. (Angel Taveras won the city with help from Mayor James Diossa.)

Raimondo got 50,041 votes total; here are the rankings with cumulative percentages:

  1. Providence: 9,738 (18%)
  2. Warwick: 4,387 (26%)
  3. Cranston: 3,593 (33%)
  4. Cumberland: 3,150 (39%)
  5. Pawtucket: 2,912 (44%)
  6. North Providence: 2,599 (49%)
  7. East Providence: 2,527 (54%)

Fung’s vote totals don’t match up as precisely with population centers. His top cities were his hometown of Cranston (3,040 votes) and Warwick (2,428), which together contributed almost one in three Fung votes. But his third-best town was North Kingstown (834), which ranks 13th by population, whereas the state’s biggest city, Providence, gave him only 616 votes, even fewer than Coventry (734). Another town with outsized impact was East Greenwich (512 votes), 26th by population but sixth for Fung votes. The rest of his majority came from South Kingstown (506) and East Providence (477).

Fung got 17,531 votes total; here are the rankings with cumulative percentages:

  1. Cranston: 3,040 (17%)
  2. Warwick: 2,428 (31%)
  3. North Kingstown: 834 (36%)
  4. Coventry: 734 (40%)
  5. Providence: 616 (44%)
  6. East Greenwich: 512 (47%)
  7. South Kingstown: 506 (49.5%)
  8. East Providence: 477 (52%)

The results in Central Falls were even more striking for Fung than for Raimondo. He won more votes on Block Island (36) than he did in Central Falls (26), even though the latter has 18 times more residents.

Ted Nesi ( tnesi@wpri.com ) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com and writes the Nesi’s Notes blog. Follow him on Twitter: @tednesi


Ken Block: I didn’t recruit Bob Healey to run for gov

September 16th, 2014 at 11:40 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Block said Tuesday he’s not yet ready to endorse his former opponent Allan Fung, but emphasized he had nothing to do with Robert Healey becoming the candidate of the fledgling Moderate Party that Block founded.

“I literally haven’t spoken to [Healey], and I won’t, because I just don’t want to,” Block told WPRI.com on Tuesday morning in his first interview since the primary.

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Clay Pell campaign spent $111 for every vote he got

September 10th, 2014 at 1:19 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democrat Clay Pell finished the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary right where he started, in third place – but not before dishing out more than $3.4 million of his own money in a failed attempt to win.

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Raimondo, Fung set to face off for RI governor

September 10th, 2014 at 1:05 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island is set to elect its first female governor or its first Asian-American governor this November after General Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung won their party’s nominations on Tuesday.

More than 153,000 registered Rhode Island voters cast a ballot in the primary election, with roughly 123,000 votes cast in the Democratic gubernatorial primary and about 31,000 votes cast in the Republican race, according to preliminary results. That would put voter turnout in the primary at roughly 20%.

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More winners in Tuesday’s primary elections:


RI governor hopefuls’ campaign spending tops $10M

September 3rd, 2014 at 12:23 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The top five candidates seeking to become Rhode Island’s next governor have spent more than $10 million over the last five months jockeying for advantage in the Democratic and Republican primaries, according to a review of campaign-finance filings by WPRI.com.

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Analysis: 5 takeaways from the Republican gov debate

September 2nd, 2014 at 11:22 pm by under Nesi's Notes

Click here to read my five takeaways from the debate on the new WPRI.com website »


Fung, Block attack each other in TV debate

September 2nd, 2014 at 11:21 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The two Republican candidates for Rhode Island governor on Tuesday jousted over endorsements and taxes while criticizing each other’s conservative credentials during a televised debate.

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• Related: Watch the full debate on WPRI.com | Analysis: 5 takeaways from the debate


Tonight at 7 live on WPRI 12 – Ken Block debates Allan Fung

September 2nd, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes


RI governor hopefuls have already spent $2M on TV ads

July 14th, 2014 at 5:27 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The campaign to become Rhode Island’s next governor is already getting quite expensive.

The five major candidates for governor have bought $2.1 million worth of television advertising since mid-May, according to an internal campaign tracking document obtained by WPRI.com. The lion’s share of that money – $1.9 million – has been spent by the three Democrats: Gina Raimondo, Clay Pell and Angel Taveras.

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RI Republicans endorse Fung for governor over Block

June 26th, 2014 at 10:25 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Rhode Island Republican Party voted Thursday to endorse Cranston Mayor Allan Fung as the party’s favored candidate for governor this year, choosing him over Barrington businessman Ken Block, a newcomer to the GOP.

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5 takeaways from Tuesday night’s Republican RI gov. debate

June 17th, 2014 at 10:51 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Ken Block Allan Fung June debateThe two Republican candidates for governor – Allan Fung and Ken Block – met Tuesday night for their first TV debate of the primary campaign. For a full recap of what they said, check out Dan McGowan’s full story on WPRI.com. The entire video of the whole 60-minute debate is posted on WPRI.com here.

Here are five quick takeaways from this second primary debate of the season. (And here are five takeaways from the Democrats’ debate if you missed them.)

1. This primary is already very heated. The Democratic candidates were disappointingly polite when they debated last week; not so the Republicans. Right from Tim White’s first question – which, granted, was about the “Blockheads” ad – Allan Fung attacked Ken Block relentlessly for supporting Barack Obama and failing to oppose Obamacare early and often. Block responded by saying Fung was once a registered Democrat who donated to Democratic politicians, and by questioning the mayor’s stewardship of Cranston. WPRI 12 political analyst Joe Fleming thought Fung came out on top in the first half – no small achievement since he, unlike Block, had never done a prime-time TV debate before – but that Block got the better of the mayor in the second half; he literally stunned Fung into a brief silence when discussing the Cranston police scandal. Block on the other hand never really seemed rattled, though the flip side of that is he seemed uncharacteristically low-energy at times. This hasn’t hit Cicilline-Gemma levels of negativity yet, though: each man did a classy job when asked to compliment his opponent.

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Fung under fire for lobbying against flood insurance bill

May 29th, 2014 at 5:55 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Ken Block is blasting his Republican gubernatorial opponent, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, for lobbying against a bill that would have notified homeowners they weren’t covered for flood insurance when he was working for MetLife in the 2000s.

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WPRI 12, Projo will host 2 TV governor debates in June

April 28th, 2014 at 10:19 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Get out your calendars.

WPRI 12 and The Providence Journal announced Monday they will host two Rhode Island gubernatorial primary debates in June. Democrats Angel Taveras, Gina Raimondo and Clay Pell will debate on Tuesday, June 10 at 7 p.m.; Republicans Allan Fung and Ken Block will debate the following Tuesday, June 17, also at 7.

The debates will be moderated by Tim White, with yours truly and Journal political columnist Ed Fitzpatrick joining him to ask questions. Both debates will be held at PPAC and air live on WPRI 12.


Gov candidate Fung wants to scrap education board

April 24th, 2014 at 9:49 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Republican gubernatorial candidate and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung on Thursday pledged to make sweeping changes to Rhode Island’s education system, unveiling a plan that would scrap the state’s two-year-old Board of Education and require the education commissioner to report directly to him.

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Ahead of Easter, RI governor hopefuls discuss their faiths

April 18th, 2014 at 12:01 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – It’s Holy Week and Passover for Christians and Jews around the world, and among those commemorating the solemn religious periods will be the five major candidates for Rhode Island governor, all but one of whom say they’re Christians.

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Watch Newsmakers: Cranston Mayor Allan Fung

April 13th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes


Most gov candidates oppose NECAP, support testing

March 13th, 2014 at 7:28 am by under General Talk, Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – All but one of Rhode Island’s major gubernatorial candidates have found something they agree on: The NECAP standardized test should not be part of the state’s high school graduation requirements.

Democrats Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, state Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Clay Pell as well as Republican Cranston Mayor Allan Fung all said Tuesday they oppose tying results on the test to a high school diploma, but indicated they aren’t completely against the use of standardized testing in education.

Businessman Ken Block, who is challenging Fung in the Republican primary, said he supports the graduation requirements that are already in place, which include the use of the NECAP – short for the New England Common Assessment Program – for the classes of 2014, 2015, and 2016 before moving to another assessment beginning the following year.

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Republican Ken Block calls for state tax overhaul

February 25th, 2014 at 1:46 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) – If he’s elected governor, Ken Block is going to have a busy first year in office.

The Republican candidate for Rhode Island’s top job unveiled an ambitious plan to overhaul the state’s tax structure Tuesday, pledging to reduce the car tax, corporate tax and estate tax all in his first year as governor.

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Chart: Comparing Raimondo, Fung and Taveras on pensions

February 18th, 2014 at 12:39 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Three of Rhode Island’s major candidates for governor this year – Treasurer Gina Raimondo, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras – have all struck deals with union members and retirees over the last two years to reduce the shortfalls in the pension funds for which they’re responsible.

So how much did they save?

In dollar terms, Raimondo obviously achieved the highest savings: a $3.9 billion cut in the state’s unfunded liability under the terms of last week’s proposed settlement, compared with a $186.4 million reduction from Taveras’s settlement and a $37.4 million reduction from Fung’s settlement. But that’s not really a fair comparison, since the two mayors were dealing with significantly smaller total liabilities.

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