dan mckee

GOP-union alliance scrambles RI lieutenant gov. campaign

October 16th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Organized labor is usually one of the most reliable constituencies for Democratic politicians in Rhode Island, but this year many unions are taking an unusual step: backing a Republican.

It reflects how the sleepy race for lieutenant governor is scrambling some of Rhode Island’s usual political alliances. A WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll released Tuesday showed Democrat Dan McKee leading Republican Catherine Taylor 36% to 27%, but nearly one in three voters – 31% – were still undecided.

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New WPRI 12/Journal Poll: Dems lead for 4 RI lower offices

October 14th, 2014 at 5:09 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic candidates are currently on top in all four down-ballot races for Rhode Island’s statewide offices with just three weeks left before the election, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal survey released Tuesday shows.

  • Lieutenant Governor: McKee 36%, Taylor 27%
  • Secretary of State: Gorbea 41%, Carlevale 27%
  • Attorney General: Kilmartin 46%, Hodgson 32%
  • General Treasurer: Magaziner 47%, Almonte 34%

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Coming up Wednesday at 4:30 a.m.: poll results in the race for Rhode Island governor.

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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WPRI 12/Journal Poll: Magaziner takes big lead over Caprio

August 19th, 2014 at 5:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democrat Seth Magaziner has jumped out to a double-digit lead over his rival Frank Caprio in the primary for Rhode Island general treasurer, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll released Tuesday shows.

The poll also shows A. Ralph Mollis leading in the race for lieutenant governor and Guillaume de Ramel leading in the primary for secretary of state.

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Watch Newsmakers: Ferri, McKee and Mollis debate for LG

July 20th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under General Talk, Nesi's Notes

Democratic lieutenant governor hopefuls spar in fiery debate

July 18th, 2014 at 3:17 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The three Democratic candidates for Rhode Island lieutenant governor aggressively defended the office they’re seeking Friday, arguing that voters statewide should elect the person who is first in line to take over if the governor is unable to complete his term.

Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, Cumberland Mayor Daniel McKee and state Rep. Frank Ferri also sparred over 38 Studios, corruption and education while lobbing criticism at one another regarding their respective tenures in public office, during a fiery debate on a special edition of WPRI 12′s Newsmakers.

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• Related: Watch the full Democratic lieutenant governor debate on Newsmakers (July 18)

McKee: Mollis should step back from 38 Studios probe

July 2nd, 2014 at 5:29 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Cumberland Mayor Daniel McKee is demanding that his primary opponent in the race for lieutenant governor – Secretary of State Ralph Mollis – step down from an investigation into possible lobbying violations in the 38 Studios deal.

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Opponents criticize Mollis, Kilmartin over 38 Studios

May 6th, 2014 at 5:39 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Critics of R.I. Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis and Attorney General Peter Kilmartin on Tuesday seized on Target 12′s new findings about possible undisclosed lobbying by 38 Studios insiders to argue they’ve failed to scrutinize the deal closely enough.

“It’s unfortunate that it took an investigative report by WPRI’s Tim White to get the secretary of state to do the work needed to protect taxpayers,” CJ Macklin, campaign manager for Cumberland mayor and Mollis rival Dan McKee, said in a statement.

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Frank Ferri may jump into Dem primary for lt. governor

May 6th, 2014 at 1:19 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – State Rep. Frank Ferri, D-Warwick, confirmed Tuesday he may jump into the race for Rhode Island’s second-highest job against the two Democrats who’ve already kicked off their campaigns, Cumberland Mayor Dan McKee and Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis.

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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)

Watch Newsmakers: LG hopeful Dan McKee; Food Bank CEO

December 1st, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

Cumberland’s McKee launches 2014 campaign for lt. governor

November 13th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Yet another Rhode Island mayor is seeking a promotion.

Democratic Cumberland Mayor Daniel McKee on Wednesday formally launched his campaign for lieutenant governor, becoming the third municipal leader to announce he will run for statewide office next year.

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Raimondo, McKee, de Ramel, Caprio lead political money race

August 1st, 2013 at 1:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The latest quarterly finance reports from Rhode Island’s state and local politicians were due to the R.I. Board of Elections by midnight last night, and the results offer a glimpse at who’s got an early advantage heading into next year’s campaign.

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• Related: DreamWorks CEO, Facebook executive among Raimondo donors (July 31)

Raimondo’s war chest hits $1.7M; Taveras tops $500K

May 1st, 2013 at 10:35 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Treasurer Gina Raimondo continued to raise campaign cash at a rip-roaring pace during the first three months of 2013, far outpacing the other leading candidates for the state’s top job.

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Cumberland Mayor Dan McKee: I’m preparing to run for Lt. Gov.

March 26th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Dan McGowan

He hasn’t formally announced his plans for 2014, but Cumberland Mayor Dan McKee said he is still strongly considering becoming the first candidate to enter the lieutenant governor’s race.

“I continue to be focused on Cumberland issues like pension, OPEB, bond ratings, schools, etc., but I understand that state policy impacts our communities and see the lieutenant governor’s position as a spot that is positioned to influence policy that will positively impact our public schools, the fiscal health of our communities and Rhode Island’s business climate,” McKee told WPRI.com Monday.

McKee’s comments came following the launch of “Mayor’s for Marriage Equality,” a new coalition that supports legislation that would make Rhode Island the final state in the New England to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed. The mayor said he is particularly interested in addressing the state’s stalled economy, which has limped out of the recession to post one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

McKee, who had just over $63,000 in his campaign war chest as of Dec. 2012, has made a name for himself in the state as an education leader, serving as chairman of Rhode Island Mayoral Academies. Despite his Wikipedia page, McKee said Blackstone Valley Prep, which serves students from Central Falls, Cumberland, Lincoln and Pawtucket, has outperformed traditional public schools on state standardized tests.

But McKee’s outspoken support for education reform—he supports the NECAP graduation requirement— means he’ll almost certainly have a union-backed opponent in a Democratic primary. To date, term-limited Secretary of State Ralph Mollis is the only other Democrat to have expressed interest in running for the office.

Hear Scott Avedisian (and me) on RIPR’s Political Roundtable

January 14th, 2013 at 4:01 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

I joined Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian and the Rhode Island Public Radio tag team of Ian Donnis and Scott MacKay for last week’s edition of Political Roundtable. The topics included Avedisian’s political future, education board confusion, budget chaos and more. Check out the 10-minute segment here.

And if you missed it two weeks ago, I was a panelist on Roundtable along with Cumberland Mayor Dan McKee. Check out the show here.

Cumberland’s McKee rules out primary challenge to Cicilline

March 2nd, 2012 at 2:35 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Cumberland Mayor Dan McKee says he won’t challenge Congressman David Cicilline in Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District primary, putting to rest speculation he could try to wrest the nomination from the unpopular incumbent.

“Although it is nice to be mentioned as a possible candidate for U.S. Congress, I plan to remain in Rhode Island and work on local and state issues,” McKee told WPRI.com in an email Friday. “As I did in 2010, I will be asking Cumberland voters for their support for mayor in 2012.”

McKee, who considered running for Congress when Patrick Kennedy retired, was among the only mainstream Rhode Island Democrats still being discussed as a potential primary challenger to Cicilline. Cumberland is also the hometown of Republican candidate Brendan Doherty.

Without McKee in the race it appears the incumbent’s only primary opponent may be businessman Anthony Gemma, who must make a decision within two weeks under the terms of a merger agreement his company signed Thursday.

McKee won a fifth term as mayor in 2010, defeating independent David Iwuc 64% to 36%. He is widely viewed as a potential candidate for statewide office in 2014, possibly as the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor or secretary of state.

McKee said he will continue to focus on education policy. “I am interested in being part of Rhode Island’s transformation,” he said. “As mayor I can continue to work on improving our public schools through the Mayoral Academies and work with municipal leaders to transform the way our town governments operate.”

• Related: Cook Political Report: Cicilline-Doherty race is now a ‘toss up’ (March 1)

(photo: Cicilline’s office)

Laverty: Car tax rules hurt fiscally responsible RI cities, towns

December 26th, 2011 at 6:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Patrick Laverty


If there is one point that Cumberland Mayor Dan McKee tries to get across in an interview, it’s that he’s just looking for fairness. It’s an issue that he’s been trying to get across to the General Assembly for some time now. We’ve heard in recent years about the fair-funding formulas for our cities and towns, but a major problem exists: the towns have differing reimbursement rates. And McKee feels those rates are not “fair.”

In 1998, the General Assembly passed a law that would phase out the motor vehicle excise tax over seven years, meaning Rhode Islanders would no longer be paying taxes on automobiles by 2005.

In 2002, the economy was turned upside down and the Assembly extended the length of the phase-out. A few years later, it was suspended indefinitely. Since then, most of us have felt the pain of more recent legislation that cut the exemption in many towns from $6,000 to $500.

That cut in the minimum exemption means fewer dollars for cities and towns, because they “are paid by the state for the lost taxes due to the exemptions” [pdf]. When state officials reduced the amount they will pay the cities and towns, the municipalities lost a great deal of revenue.

Why did the General Assembly do this? The answer is simple and has never been denied: to balance the state budget.

As much as some may disagree with balancing the state’s budget using local money, let’s deem that acceptable for now. But are the towns even being reimbursed fairly and equally? When you look at the numbers, it would appear not.


Democratic governors’ chief woos Chafee to join Obama’s party

November 29th, 2011 at 11:31 am by under Nesi's Notes

Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s flirtation with the Democratic Party continues.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley recently told Chafee he should formally join the party of President Obama, whom Chafee endorsed in 2008. O’Malley floated the idea during a phone conversation they had about the plight of the menhaden, spokeswoman Elisabeth Smith told WPRI.com.

O’Malley is chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, an umbrella group for the party’s 20 state executives.

Chafee, who won office in 2010 as an independent, doesn’t have a governors association. Asked if he is seriously considering the idea, the governor told WPRI.com through a spokeswoman: ”I’m happy where I am for now.”