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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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Pell loans his campaign $1M; Raimondo has $2.5M

February 2nd, 2014 at 4:15 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democrat Clay Pell has jumped to the front ranks of Rhode Island’s best-funded politicians after putting more than $1 million of his own money into his campaign for governor, as his rivals Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Mayor Angel Taveras continue to sock away six-figure sums.

Here’s a rundown of how much money all the candidates for statewide office had as of Dec. 31.

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• Related: Ex-Enron trader Arnold gave $100K to pro-Raimondo PAC (Jan. 31)


Taveras, Raimondo back higher minimum wage; GOP opposed

January 23rd, 2014 at 4:48 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Both announced Democratic candidates for governor agreed Thursday that Rhode Island should raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. They just don’t see eye to eye on when to do it. But the two Republican candidates disagree.

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• Related: Watch gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo on Newsmakers (Jan. 23)


Moody’s praises Fung settlement cutting Cranston pensions

January 20th, 2014 at 11:30 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

After a rough couple of news cycles, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung has finally gotten some good news.

In a short investor note issued last week, Moody’s Investors Service analyst Vito Galluccio praised a Jan. 9 ruling by R.I. Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter allowing Cranston to suspend pension COLAs biennially and cap them at 3%, calling the decision a “credit positive” for Rhode Island’s third-largest city.

The changes to the Police and Fire Employees’ Pension Plan of the City of Cranston (PFERS) are “credit positive for Cranston because it reduces the city’s pension liabilities, lowers the annual required contribution (ARC) to its pension plans and forces the city to fully fund its ARC in future years,” Galluccio wrote.

According to Moody’s, the changes will reduce the large shortfall in Cranston’s pre-1995 police and fire pension plan by about 10% to an estimated $261 million. By comparison, Treasurer Gina Ramondo’s 2011 state pension law reduced the state’s unfunded liability by about 41%, and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras’s settlement with city retirees reduced the capital’s shortfall by about 22%.

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Raimondo, Taveras back Chafee budget; Fung wants lower taxes

January 16th, 2014 at 4:48 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The two announced Democratic candidates vying to succeed Gov. Lincoln Chafee expressed initial support for the governor’s final budget proposal Wednesday night, while a leading Republican hopeful called on state leaders to consider lowering taxes this year.

General Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, both Democrats, said they still want to dig in to Chafee’s $8.5 billion budget proposal, but agreed that the governor’s plans to spend an additional $38 million on public schools, freeze tuition at state colleges and invest in infrastructure are all good starting points in an election year.

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Watch Newsmakers: GOP governor candidate Ken Block

November 17th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes


Watch Newsmakers: Cranston Mayor Allan Fung

November 10th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes


Republican Allan Fung enters Rhode Island governor’s race

November 4th, 2013 at 11:36 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) – The Republican mayor of Rhode Island’s third-largest city officially launched his campaign for governor Monday, promising to create 20,000 new jobs and freeze college tuition rates for four years beginning in 2015.

Describing himself as “respectful, result-oriented and fiscally responsible,” Cranston Mayor Allan Fung pledged to be a hands-on governor who will spearhead an economic development strategy that will be centered on lowering taxes, improving public schools, fixing the state’s aging infrastructure.

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Raimondo grows war chest over $2.3M; Taveras at $759K

November 1st, 2013 at 12:14 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – R.I. General Treasurer Gina Raimondo is now sitting on a campaign war chest that is more than three times the size of her closest rival’s as she prepares for a likely run for governor in 2014.

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Q&A: Orr explains how Brown University’s poll was conducted

October 9th, 2013 at 12:38 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Marion_OrrBrown University released a new opinion survey on Wednesday morning showing Treasurer Gina Raimondo leading Providence Mayor Angel Taveras in the Democratic primary for governor. The findings are strikingly different from those of the poll Taveras commissioned and released last month that put the mayor 19 points ahead.

Marion Orr is director of Brown’s Taubman Center for Public Policy and Frederick Lippitt Professor of Public Policy & Political Science. He talked with WPRI.com on Wednesday about how the new poll was conducted. The interview has been lightly edited and annotated for length and clarity.

What are the headlines to you out of today’s new Brown poll?

The headline out of this poll is that Gina Raimondo is leading pretty good among likely voters in the Democratic primary. This is a fairly good lead, I think, within the margin of error.

Now, the lead narrows a bit – that is, her lead narrows a bit but she still leads – when you focus only on those people who tell us that they typically are Democrats. But she still leads. But the lead narrows.

What I’m suggesting here is that when you add in, say, independents who could perhaps vote in a Democratic primary, her lead increases. So I think that’s one thing.

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Brown U. Poll: Raimondo leads Taveras in Dem gov primary

October 9th, 2013 at 9:20 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Treasurer Gina Raimondo has the early advantage over Providence Mayor Angel Taveras in next year’s Democratic primary for governor, but Taveras is a stronger candidate against Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, according to a new poll released Wednesday by Brown University.

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Joe Paolino throwing $500-a-head fundraiser for Mayor Taveras

September 17th, 2013 at 6:53 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

A former mayor of Providence who ran unsuccessfully for governor is raising money for Mayor Angel Taveras as he gears up to run for the state’s top job in 2014.

No, not Buddy.

Joseph Paolino, who ran Rhode Island’s capital city from 1984 until 1990 before losing a Democratic primary for governor to Bruce Sundlun, is hosting a $500-a-head fundraiser for Taveras at Circe, the popular downtown restaurant located two blocks from Paolino’s real estate business. (more…)


Taveras has teachers’ union, ed reform support as he eyes bid for governor

September 17th, 2013 at 1:31 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Just three years after a national labor leader accused Providence Mayor Angel Taveras of trying to “crush unions,” political analysts say the first-term Democrat’s hopes of becoming governor may hinge on how much support he wins from organized labor.

Taveras, who succeeded David Cicilline as mayor in 2011, is widely expected to jump into next year’s race for governor, where he’s likely to square off against General Treasurer Gina Raimondo in the Democratic primary. Incumbent Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who recently became a Democrat, announced earlier this month he won’t seek re-election.

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Republican Robitaille eyeing 2014 governor’s race

August 5th, 2013 at 2:53 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Just when you thought he was out, the Republican runner-up in the 2010 governor’s race on Monday said he is considering running for the state’s top job again in 2014.

John Robitaille, who finished two percentage points behind Gov. Lincoln Chafee in a four-way race in 2010, said Chafee’s decision to join the Democratic Party and Moderate Party standard bearer Ken Block’s flirtation with the Republican Party have prompted him to reassess his options.

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