governor’s race

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.

Read the rest of this story »


Raimondo’s primary victory cost $2.3M more than Coakley’s

September 11th, 2014 at 12:20 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Massachusetts’ population is six times bigger than Rhode Island’s, but it was actually less expensive for Martha Coakley to win a nomination for governor this year in the Bay State than for Gina Raimondo to do so in its small southern neighbor.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »


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%.

Read the rest of this story »

More winners in Tuesday’s primary elections:


WPRI.com Live Blog: Primary Night 2014 Coverage

September 9th, 2014 at 4:06 pm by under Nesi's Notes

Click here to read our Primary Night 2014 live blog on the new WPRI.com website »


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.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »

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


Analysis: 5 takeaways from the Democratic gov debate

August 26th, 2014 at 11:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

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


Democrats for RI gov battle in aggressive TV debate

August 26th, 2014 at 8:01 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – With two weeks until the primary, the three leading Democratic candidates for Rhode Island governor questioned each other’s records while laying out their plans for job creation and education during a fiery debate Tuesday.

Read the rest of this story »

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


WPRI 12/Journal Poll: Raimondo takes the lead; Pell rises

August 20th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – General Treasurer Gina Raimondo has overtaken Providence Mayor Angel Taveras in the Democratic primary for governor and political newcomer Clay Pell is closing in on him from behind, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll released Wednesday shows.

The new survey of 503 likely Rhode Island Democratic primary voters shows Raimondo in the lead at 32%, Taveras slipping to second place at 27% and Pell close behind him at 26%. The number of voters who are undecided has fallen to 13% ahead of the Sept. 9 primary.

Read the rest of this story »


Taveras knocks Pell again for lack of experience

August 13th, 2014 at 6:34 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Angel Taveras doubled down on his criticism of rival Clay Pell on Wednesday, citing a newly published WPRI.com examination of Pell’s background to suggest the 32-year-old isn’t ready to lead Rhode Island.

Read the rest of this story »


$3.5M spent by RI governor candidates since July 1

August 13th, 2014 at 1:25 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The top five candidates for Rhode Island governor spent a whopping $3.5 million on their campaigns in the six weeks since the start of July, with Democrats Gina Raimondo and Clay Pell shelling out well over $1 million each.

Here’s how the money race played out through Monday for statewide offices on the ballot this year in Rhode Island.

Read the rest of this story »


Clay Pell’s résumé comes under closer scrutiny

August 12th, 2014 at 10:40 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Clay Pell has compiled a lengthy résumé in the nine years since he received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, an employment history that is drawing more scrutiny as it comes under fire from one of his rivals.

Pell has actually had only two full-time permanent jobs since finishing law school, according to a WPRI.com review of public information, statements made by Pell and details provided by his campaign.

Read the rest of this story »


Clay Pell launching new ad to blunt Taveras attack

August 7th, 2014 at 10:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Clay Pell is moving quickly to try and blunt a TV attack ad that’s being aired in heavy rotation by his rival, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, with his own spot arguing the campaign should stay policy-focused.

Read the rest of this story »


Angel Taveras slams Clay Pell in new TV attack ad

August 5th, 2014 at 10:36 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence Mayor Angel Taveras late Tuesday launched a frontal assault against his Democratic gubernatorial rival Clay Pell, debuting a new TV ad that criticizes the political newcomer as “inexperienced and out of touch.”

Read the rest of this story »


Brown University shaking up its political polling operation

July 24th, 2014 at 11:39 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Brown University is working on a reboot of its closely watched Rhode Island political polling operation, WPRI.com has learned.

James Morone, a political science professor who took over from Marion Orr this month as director of Brown’s Taubman Center for Public Policy & American Institutions, confirmed that he is working to hire one or more new staff members to conduct the polls.

Read the rest of this story »


Clay Pell getting traction in Democratic gov primary

July 21st, 2014 at 1:48 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Could Clay Pell win the Democratic nomination for governor on Sept. 9?

No small number of people have scoffed at that suggestion. But with 50 days to go before the primary – and more than $1 million in Pell TV ads saturating the airwaves – there’s reason to think the 32-year-old political newcomer has a real, if still unlikely, shot at victory.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »


Q&A: John Sides on what really matters in Campaign 2014

July 7th, 2014 at 9:09 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

john SidesWho says political scientists are stuck in the ivory tower? In recent years, blogs like The Monkey Cage have helped popularize poli sci research, taking an academic approach to the 24-hour news cycle and debunking long-held myths about government and elections.

John Sides is an associate professor of political science at George Washington University, a Monkey Cage contributor and the co-author (with Lynn Vavreck) of a fascinating new book, “The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election.” Via email, Sides talked with me about what his research shows will really impact this year’s election in Rhode Island.

There are always books published soon after a major election that try to tell the story of how one side won and one side lost. What’s different about “The Gamble” from other campaign postmortems like “Game Change” or “Collision 2012″?

Other campaign postmortems do an excellent job using their access to campaigns to tell us why campaigns made the decisions they did. I think “The Gamble” helps to answer a different question, which is whether those decisions actually affected voters. To answer that question, you need the tools of social science, such as quantitative data and the ability to test hypotheses and rule out alternative explanations.

(more…)


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.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

(more…)


Watch: The entire June 10 RI Democratic primary debate

June 11th, 2014 at 11:10 am by under Nesi's Notes


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

June 10th, 2014 at 11:05 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Raimondo Taveras Pell June 2014 debateThe top three Democratic candidates for governor – Angel Taveras, Gina Raimondo and Clay Pell – 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 full video of the entire 60-minute debate is online here.

Here are five quick takeaways from this first primary debate of the season.

1. Nobody bombed. Supporters of the three candidates will point to the best moments each of them had and the occasional stumbles of their rivals, but the truth is there didn’t appear to be any really bad moments that will become a major post-debate headache for their campaigns. Particularly in the first debate, when the candidates are still trying to get their sea legs, they likely have the Hippocratic oath in mind: “First, do no harm.” As WPRI 12 political analyst Joe Fleming put it, “I would say they all held their own tonight. But nobody had a knock-out punch.”

(more…)


Watch Newsmakers: Political roundtable analyzes new poll

June 8th, 2014 at 12:53 pm by under Nesi's Notes


WPRI/Journal Poll: Taveras still leads Raimondo; Pell slips

June 3rd, 2014 at 5:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The tight race between Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and Treasurer Gina Raimondo for the Democratic nomination for governor has barely budged since last winter, but their opponent Clay Pell has lost ground, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll released Tuesday shows.

The new survey of 506 Rhode Island Democratic primary voters shows Taveras still in the lead at 33%, with Raimondo still a close second at 29% and Pell a distant third at 12%. More than one in five voters – 22% – haven’t decided whom they’ll support in the Sept. 9 primary. Perennial candidate Todd Giroux is at 1.6%.

Read the rest of this story »


Clay Pell pitches free tuition at CCRI in ed package

April 30th, 2014 at 11:55 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The grandson of the former U.S. Senator whose landmark legislation opened the door for millions of low-income Americans to attend college is proposing Rhode Island overhaul the way its students pay for higher education.

Read the rest of this story »


Dems sign ‘People’s Pledge’ to limit spending in gov race

April 28th, 2014 at 10:21 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Democratic candidates for Rhode Island governor said Monday they have reached an agreement to limit outside spending during the campaign, a deal that could significantly limit the influence of Super PACs and other special-interest groups this year.

Known in politics as the “People’s Pledge,” the agreement requires any candidate who benefits from an outside group’s advertisement to contribute 100% of the ad buy to a charity selected by their opponent within three days of the ad’s discovery. In the event that two candidates benefit from the ad, they will each contribute 50% of the cost to the third’s candidate’s charity of choice.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »