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.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former Auditor General Ernie Almonte announced Thursday that he’ll run for general treasurer in 2014, abandoning his long-shot bid for governor against Gina Raimondo and Angel Taveras.
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.
Democrat Gina Raimondo is the early favorite to win the 2014 governor’s race, according to a new poll released Thursday morning to WPRI.com.
The Public Policy Polling survey [pdf] shows Raimondo would win anywhere from 32% to 46% of the vote depending on which hypothetical opponents she faces. She is the only candidate to crack 40% support in any of 10 ballot tests conducted by PPP.
If Raimondo is out of the picture, however, there’s no clear frontrunner: the leading candidates in non-Raimondo scenarios shift between Republican Brendan Doherty, Republican Allan Fung and Democrat Angel Taveras depending on the match-up. Moderate Party founder Ken Block starts out with double-digit support in most scenarios, suggesting his presence could have a major impact on the outcome.
Independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee faces an unsurprisingly uphill battle to win a second term, with more than half of voters saying they don’t want him to run again. His strongest shot at re-election comes if he runs as a Democrat: running under the party banner, Chafee starts out trailing Republicans Doherty and Fung by just four points. Among voters who do want Chafee to run again, 20% say he should run as an independent and 18% say he should run as a Democrat.
Former Auditor General Ernie Almonte delivered a 20-page report on Pawtucket’s pension and retiree health plans to Mayor Donald Grebien on Thursday, eight months after Grebien asked him to lead an ad hoc commission studying the issue.
“The City of Pawtucket has a seriously underfunded pension system and an unfunded OPEB (other post retirement employee benefits, e.g., health insurance),” the report says. It lists a long list of options for dealing with the problem, including larger contributions from the city and suspending pension cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) until the plan is 80% funded.
Grebien described the report as “impressive in its scope and depth,” and said he will review its findings “with his administration and finance directors, in conjunction with union leaders, to determine options and recommendations that will be sent to the City Council for approval as required by the state.”
Independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee got a prime-time speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention. But elsewhere in Charlotte the two Democrats who could vie to replace him in 2014 are burnishing their rival reformist credentials.
Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras are each taking part in panel discussions Thursday to discuss their contrasting approaches to scaling back pension benefits in Rhode Island over the past year and a half. The two first-term Democrats are both expected to run for governor in two years.
Raimondo is part of a star-studded lineup of speakers hosted by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and Bloomberg LP, while Taveras will discuss Providence’s pension deal at an “All Politics is Local” forum organized by the Conference of Democratic Mayors.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former Rhode Island Auditor General Ernest Almonte will run for governor as a Democrat in 2014, he announced Monday morning after filing a notice of organization with the Board of Elections.
“The reason why I did that is in order to do fundraising you have to file this form,” Almonte, 56, told WPRI.com. “A lot of people do exploratory committees – I’m not that way. This is what I’m doing.”
Almonte, a North Scituate resident who’s never run for public office before, said he has enlisted a treasurer and is in discussions with potential campaign managers. He said he will make a formal announcement at a later date.
“I am running because I can make a positive change for this state,” Almonte said. “I will exercise leadership by giving character, competition and compassion, and I will create an infrastructure for success and an infrastructure for opportunity for everyone in this state.”
Pawtucket joined the pension parade on Thursday as Mayor Don Grebien’s new ad hoc panel said it would deliver recommendations for fixing the city’s underfunded pension and retiree health plans by April.
“It’s bad,” former Auditor General Ernie Almonte, who is chairing the committee, said at its first meeting this morning. “It’s a bad situation, and everyone has to give something up.” The group will likely draft a report outlining the situation and suggesting potential solutions.
Almonte said he wants to ensure Pawtucket avoids the “rather disgusting” outcome in Central Falls, where pension were cut up to 55% after the city declared bankruptcy. ”There should have been a better plan on how to deal with that,” he said. “But there should have a plan 20 years ago on having the money that wasn’t there.”
“Many of our urban areas are on the brink of bankruptcy,” warned Gary Sasse, another panel member, who was former Gov. Don Carcieri’s director of administration.