governor’s race

Most gov candidates oppose NECAP, support testing

March 13th, 2014 at 7:28 am by under General Talk

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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Taveras proposes new job-training program at CCRI

March 11th, 2014 at 11:15 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Angel Taveras on Tuesday put forward a proposal to have the Community College of Rhode Island offer up to 2,000 Rhode Islanders specialized job training tailored to the needs of individual companies.

Gina Raimondo quickly dismissed the Taveras plan as just “baby steps,” which led the Taveras campaign to accuse the treasurer of “trying to score cheap political points.” Republican Ken Block, meanwhile, said both Democrats want “more big government business as usual.”

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• Related: Raimondo rolls out plan to boost RI manufacturing (March 10)

Myrth York, former Taveras ally, backs Raimondo for gov

March 5th, 2014 at 8:30 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The woman who made three unsuccessful runs for governor of Rhode Island is throwing her support behind a new contender for the job.

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Steve Jobs’ widow to co-host Raimondo fundraiser in Calif.

March 4th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s gubernatorial campaign is getting support from Silicon Valley royalty.

Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs, will co-host a fundraiser for Raimondo on March 25 in Palo Alto, Calif., along with SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg, who is married to Facebook executive and “Lean In” author Sheryl Sandberg, and David Crane, a former advisor to Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger who has backed changes to public pensions in the Golden State.

“Gina represents a dynamic new generation of Democratic leaders – she helped usher in progress for Rhode Island by adhering to key principles that have steadily guided her career: creativity, tenaciousness, and listening well,” the invitation, obtained by, states. Suggested contributions are $250 to $1,000.

The Raimondo event is part of an Election Speaker Series organized by Emerson Collective, a nonprofit founded by Powell Jobs, according to the invitation. Powell Jobs gave a maximum $1,000 donation to the treasurer’s campaign last September, while Crane has given Raimondo $2,000 since 2012 and Goldberg has given her $1,000, according to R.I. Board of Elections records.

Raimondo’s campaign confirmed the event but declined to say how long the treasurer will be in California or whether she will hold other events while she’s on the West Coast.

• Related: Clay Pell loans his campaign $1M; Gina Raimondo has $2.5M (Feb. 2)

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.


New WPRI/Projo Poll: Taveras 31%, Raimondo 27%, Pell 15%

February 12th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and Treasurer Gina Raimondo are locked in a tight battle for the Democratic nomination for governor, with Taveras holding a slight lead but one in four primary voters still undecided, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll released Wednesday shows.

The new survey of 503 likely Rhode Island Democratic primary voters puts Taveras on top at 31%, with Raimondo close behind at 27% and political newcomer Clay Pell further back at 15%. An even larger share of primary voters – 25% – haven’t decided whom they’ll support in the Sept. 9 election.

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• Interactive: Dig into the full results and crosstabs for the new WPRI/Journal poll

New WPRI/Projo Poll: 46% of primary voters back pension law

February 11th, 2014 at 5:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Fewer than half of Democratic primary voters in Rhode Island support the 2011 pension overhaul championed by one of the party’s leading candidates for governor, Treasurer Gina Raimondo, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll released Tuesday shows.

The new survey of 503 likely Democratic primary voters also shows 70% of them think it’s important that a candidate for governor has prior elective experience, a key question for Raimondo rival Clay Pell, while 55% think Providence’s financial problems have been only somewhat solved by Mayor Angel Taveras, another Democratic candidate for governor, since he took office in 2011.

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• Interactive: Dig into the full results and crosstabs for the new WPRI/Journal poll

Tomorrow at 5 a.m. – find out whether Raimondo, Taveras or Pell holds the lead among primary voters.

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: Clay Pell, Democratic gov candidate

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

Clay Pell, flanked by Kwan, kicks off campaign for RI gov

January 28th, 2014 at 12:57 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Herbert Claiborne “Clay” Pell IV, a political newcomer with a famous grandfather and an even more famous wife, jumped into Rhode Island’s race for governor Tuesday with a promise to bring a new approach to state government.

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Pell, senator’s grandson and Kwan’s husband, running for gov

January 27th, 2014 at 4:02 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By David Klepper

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s already contentious race for governor is about to get a lot more complicated with the entry of Clay Pell, the grandson of the late U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell and the husband of Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan.

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Watch Newsmakers: Treasurer, gov hopeful Gina Raimondo

January 26th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

A correction: during the show, I said Kate CoyneMcCoy of American LeadHERship was on stage at one point during Treasurer Raimondo’s kickoff event; CoyneMcCoy was there but not on stage. I regret the error.

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)

Chafee pays himself back $200K; campaign debt at $1.41M

January 20th, 2014 at 7:06 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced back in September that he wouldn’t seek a second term in 2014, but he’s only starting to make a dent in repaying himself $1.61 million in personal loans to his 2010 campaign.

Chafee’s campaign account cut the governor a check for $200,000 on Dec. 2 to reimburse him for some of the personal loans he made to his gubernatorial campaign in 2009 and 2010, according to a filing Monday with the R.I. Board of Elections. That cut Chafee’s outstanding personal campaign debt to $1.41 million.

Chafee spent $2.5 million on his 2010 gubernatorial campaign, slightly less than Democrat Frank Caprio, who spent $2.7 million but came in third. Republican John Robitaille, who came in second, spent $603,833.

Chafee and his wife, Stephanie (Danforth) Chafee, are known to have a large fortune. The Chafees’ net worth was at least $38 million in 2006, according to his final U.S. Senate financial disclosure form, which at the time made Chafee the seventh-richest senator, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The governor didn’t raise a penny during the final fundraising quarter of last year, according to the filing. His campaign war chest stood at $164,967 on Dec. 31, down from $379,208 on Sept. 30, after the loan repayment and campaign expenses including $2,349 for holiday cards and payments to campaign consultants Amy Gabarra and William Facente.

Gabarra, a prominent Democratic fundraiser, is now raising money for Democrat Clay Pell.

Raimondo puts focus on jobs, education at campaign kickoff

January 13th, 2014 at 10:20 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) – Treasurer Gina Raimondo kicked off her campaign to become the next governor of Rhode Island on Monday morning with a pledge to reinvigorate the state’s economy by using the same approach she took in spearheading the 2011 pension overhaul. She also unveiled a series of policy proposals.

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Watch Newsmakers: Political roundtable breaks down the poll

November 24th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

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

Watch Newsmakers: Providence Mayor Angel Taveras

November 3rd, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

Clay Pell says he’ll decide on RI gov bid in coming weeks

October 28th, 2013 at 4:34 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Herbert Claiborne “Clay” Pell IV confirmed Monday that he’s actively exploring whether to jump into the 2014 Democratic primary for governor of Rhode Island and expects to make a decision within weeks, as he makes the round to sound out how much support he could win.

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Providence Mayor Taveras kicks off campaign for governor

October 28th, 2013 at 10:02 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence Mayor Angel Taveras formally entered Rhode Island’s 2014 race for governor on Monday, hoping to become the first mayor of the capital city to win the state’s top job in more than 60 years, as he prepares to face Treasurer Gina Raimondo and possibly Clay Pell.

In a speech delivered to dozens of supporters gathered in the library of the Meeting Street School on the city’s South Side, the 43-year-old Democrat talked about how his financial management helped Providence avoid filing for bankruptcy and pledged to be the candidate who will best represent “working families” in Rhode Island.

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Taveras campaign stands by poll giving him 19-point lead

October 9th, 2013 at 2:05 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras isn’t backing down in the battle of the pollsters.

Hours after Brown University released a survey showing Taveras trailing Treasurer Gina Raimondo in a possible Democratic primary for governor, Taveras campaign aide Peter Baptista said his team stands by its Garin-Hart-Yang Research survey findings from last month giving Taveras a sizable advantage.

“We stand by the poll we released,” Baptista told “The methodology is solid, and Mayor Taveras is focused on delivering for working people in Rhode Island.”

The Taveras campaign only released a memo summarizing its internal poll instead of the full results, but pollster Frederick Yang said his primary sample was 60% Democrats and 40% independents. By comparison, Brown’s primary sample was made up of only 40% Democrats and 46% independents.

Baptisa hinted that Taveras is getting closer to making a formal announcement about his candidacy for governor. “He will announce his decision in weeks, not months,” Baptista said.

Raimondo spokeswoman Joy Fox didn’t join the fray. “The treasurer’s office will not comment on polls,” Fox told “We will continue to concentrate on our work in Treasury, and deliver results for Rhode Islanders.”

• Related: Q&A: Orr explains how Brown University’s poll was conducted (Oct. 9)

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 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.


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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Taveras poll shows him beating Raimondo in Dem gov primary

September 18th, 2013 at 5:06 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

taveras_NM_5-11-2012_smallA new poll commissioned and released by Providence Mayor Angel Taveras shows the first-term Democrat would start with a lead over Treasurer Gina Raimondo, his main rival for the party’s 2014 gubernatorial nomination, in a primary race.

The survey by Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group shows Taveras at 49% and Raimondo at 30% among likely Democratic primary voters, with 21% undecided, according to a polling memo released to by Peter Baptista, the mayor’s campaign operative.

“Our survey findings show that Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is extremely well-regarded by Rhode Island Democrats, and that he would enter a potential primary election for governor with a healthy lead over [General] Treasurer Gina Raimondo,” pollster Frederick Yang wrote in the memo.

The Taveras campaign did not release the full results of the poll.


Raimondo removing ‘for RI Treasurer’ from her Facebook page

September 10th, 2013 at 9:41 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Here’s another tea leaf for you to read.

Facebook users who’ve “liked” the Gina Raimondo for RI Treasurer page received the following notification tonight:


Basically, the message says Raimondo’s campaign Facebook page will remove the “for RI Treasurer” slogan from its headline on Sept. 23. As it happens, that’s just a few days before the treasurer’s much-anticipated women-focused fundraiser, where it’s possible she could reveal more about her future plans.

Raimondo’s Facebook tweak comes the same day Cranston Mayor Allan Fung formed an exploratory committee studded with Republican luminaries to signal his seriousness about seeking the governor’s office.

• Related: Analysis: Chafee scrambles the 2014 campaign – once again (Sept. 4)

Watch Newsmakers: Political roundtable on Chafee and 2014

September 8th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Wall Street Journal editorial praises ‘Chafee’s graceful exit’

September 5th, 2013 at 9:50 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

The Wall Street Journal’s conservative editorial page – and particularly Allysia Finley, one of its writers, who keeps an eye on Rhode Island – hasn’t always been a big fan of Lincoln Chafee. But Finley paid Chafee a compliment, if a somewhat backhanded one, in a new editorial about his decision not to run next year:

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s announcement Wednesday that he would not seek re-election next year exhibited his hallmark pragmatism: With an approval rating stuck in the mid 20s, he faced a bruising primary against two well-funded, popular Democrats. Yet by hanging up his hat, he also evinced a modicum of humility and self-awareness that’s become all too rare in politics. …

It took some courage for the governor to admit that election politics were impeding his focus and judgement, and likely even more so to admit to himself that he stood little chance of winning. Other governors in similar binds (e.g., Illinois’s Pat Quinn) ought to take note.

Read the rest here.

• Related: Analysis: Chafee scrambles the 2014 campaign – once again (Sept. 4)

Analysis: Chafee scrambles the 2014 campaign – once again

September 4th, 2013 at 7:54 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site


Angel Taveras has always liked Lincoln Chafee. But he’s probably never liked him more than he does today.

Chafee’s surprise announcement that he won’t seek re-election – made outside the DMV, no less – sets up the 2014 Democratic primary for governor as a clear choice between two formidable candidates: Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, each a first-termer with a high approval rating.

That’s good news for Taveras. Raimondo isn’t going to win over the state’s politically powerful public-sector unions, and she’s going to face at least some resistance from those liberal Democrats who are skeptical of her ties to the financial sector. Taveras, on the other hand, is viewed more warmly by labor for negotiating his pension cuts – an oft-heard talking point these days.

The big challenge for Taveras was going to be competing with Chafee for the same slice of the electorate – Latinos, liberals and labor. Chafee was unlikely to win the primary, but it’s conceivable he could have taken enough votes from Taveras to hand victory to Raimondo – an ironic possibility considering Chafee has a much warmer relationship with the mayor than he does with the treasurer.


Watch: Ted Nesi breaks down Chafee’s decision not to run

September 4th, 2013 at 6:11 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

• Related: Gov. Lincoln Chafee will not seek re-election in 2014 (Sept. 4)