Mr. Graham offers up a good solution but I am not certain it would work in RI because it says “spend money” and it’s a documented fact that RIGOP is incapable of raising it. No one gives to the state party because with the exception of the brief Ken McKay era, it has been run badly for the past 20 years. The Almond and Carcieri teams invested no effort in building the party and developing a “bench” so there are few Rhode Island Republicans with any real political experience unless they’ve worked elsewhere – or for Democrats. Another problem for the RIGOP – because there are so few R electeds – and the GOP stain is so bad – the very thin GOP bench can’t find work here and so they leave – Ken McKay is the best example, but just last week, Doherty’s manager, Ian Prior, took a job in DC. The talented people who remain here and lean Republican try to make a living while avoiding the GOP label and anything to do with party politics.
So essentially the RIGOP has no money and no talent. So where to? The mayors are the one bright spot – Fung, Fontaine and Avedesian. They have all been good in their roles but none has the star power to contend in a governor’s race. Kilmartin looks comfortable in the AG role and it would be hard to displace him on performance at this point. I think that there’s hope for the RIGOP in three races: Treasurer, Secretary of State and Lt Governor. With the exception of the master lever pullers, Rhode Islanders have always been ticket-splitters – especially outside of the cities – so it’s not hard to see how these statewide offices are winnable. The key for GOP candidates is to get in the races early with a well-defined platform so the can lay out their ideas and don’t get lost in the noise around a D primary. The party would also do well to recruit Catherine Taylor to run again and work with her to build a strong group of women candidates for GA seats.
I don’t think RIGOP should focus on Governor’s race – it has not helped the party in the past and it takes all the strength out of the base. If a self-funded candidate comes along – great – but at this point he would be a sacrificial lamb. (And let’s agree to stop saying that Robitaille “came close”. Yes, he grabbed the whopping R base and came in 2nd in a 4 way – which is actually equivalent to coming in 2nd in a 2 way.)
The previous comment addresses some of the issues – and I will agree that to the extent RIGOP can distance itself from the national party, the better off it will be. However, until RIGOP can build itself up by fielding successful moderate candidates – and 2014 may be the last chance – the national issues are almost irrelevant in state and local races.
Agree? Disagree? Not sure? Share your own thoughts below.
People’s Majority attacked Whitehouse on Sunday with a new 30-second attack ad that aired on WPRI 12 during halftime of the Patriots-Rams game, one of the highest-rated broadcasts of the week. The commercial repeated disputed allegations of insider trading against Whitehouse, who had a big lead over Republican challenger Barry Hinckley as of last month.
Cabell Hobbs replaced McKay as the treasurer of People’s Majority at some point last year, Federal Election Commission filings show.
State Rep. Joe Trillo is more than just a staunch advocate of building a casino at Quonset Point. He’s also a so-called superdelegate to the Republican National Convention.
Trillo is one of three GOP superdelegates from Rhode Island, according to DemocraticConventionWatch.com, which tracks such things. And he’s the only one who has thrown his support behind a candidate: Mitt Romney.
Rhode Island’s other two superdelegates - former party chairman Mark Zaccaria and former state Rep. Carol Mumford – haven’t announced their endorsements yet, the site says.
Update: Tim White correctly suggested that the second superdelegate slot is for the party chairman, not Ken McKay himself, which means that vote now belongs to his successor Mark Zaccaria – a Romney supporter. (The guys at DemocraticConventionWatch.com now say the same.)
Ken McKay is stepping down as chairman of the Rhode Island Republican Party, WPRI.com has confirmed.
McKay revealed his departure to GOP insiders in an email on Wednesday, said Giovanni Cicione, McKay’s predecessor as party chairman and the campaign manager for Brendan Doherty’s 1st Congressional District campaign.
Steve Frias, the state party’s 1st vice chair, has taken over as acting chairman and will hold an election to replace him within 30 days, Cicione said. A special election will be held the week of Dec. 19 following a meeting of the party’s executive committee the week of Dec. 5, Frias said in an email to party members Sunday obtained by WPRI.com.
“We’ll have a new chair by the end of the year, which is good given the campaign season is coming up – it’s probably best to have it over and done with in 2011, so whoever comes in can focus on 2012,” Cicione said.
McKay, who was elected chairman in March, is expected to take a high-profile new job either with a major campaign or in Washington. Cicione declined to offer any suggestions as to who should succeed McKay.
The Rhode Island Republican Party’s new chairman, Ken McKay, is a staunch GOP partisan. But he’s strongly opposed to closing the party’s 2012 primary to independents – and plans to campaign against it ahead of an October vote on the issue.
“There are people who think closing the primary will lead to a more pure Republican Party, and in my opinion there’s not enough people who agree with them,” McKay told WPRI.com on Monday.
“This happens every time a campaign comes along,” he said. “This was the Laffey-Chafee issue, and then last year it was, well, if you don’t like Gio [Cicione], then you’re for closing the primary – now, well, if you’re loyal to John [Loughlin], then you’re for closing the primary.”
As promised, here’s this weekend’s edition of “Newsmakers” with the two candidates for Rhode Island’s Republican chairman: Ken McKay, Governor Carcieri’s former chief of staff, and Patrick Sweeney, who was John Loughlin’s deputy campaign manager.
The show is hosted as usual by Tim White, with WRNI’s Ian Donnis and myself joining in the questioning. The program will also air Sunday at 5:30 a.m. on WPRI 12 and Fox Providence, and Sunday at 10 a.m. on Fox.
The two candidates for chairman – Ken McKay, Governor Carcieri’s former chief of staff, and Patrick Sweeney, who was John Loughlin’s deputy campaign manager – were our guests for this morning’s taping of WPRI 12′s “Newsmakers” with Tim White, Ian Donnis and yours truly. And it was quite a conversation.
McKay in particular hammered Chafee for being out of touch with the concerns of average Rhode Islanders, echoing a theme Bob Watson loudly vocalized this week with his “gay man from Guatemala who gambles and smokes pot” line.
Here’s what McKay had to say about Chafee:
I am so disappointed, politically and personally, by the governor that I think that – there’s so much damage that’s been done between him and this party and our relationship right now. I don’t think there’s a healthy way to get him back into the fold. He is diametrically opposed to just the core principles of the Republican Party, it appears.
You know, a lot of us worked hard for him when he ran for Senate, under the guise that he was a Republican, his family, they were Republicans, and we were going to build this party. And the way he left, some of the things he said, it just – it just left a bad taste in my mouth.
I feel as disappointed – I feel as misled by Linc Chafee as Linc Chafee claims to have been misled by George Bush.
The full episode of “Newsmakers” will be posted online later today and will be broadcast Sunday at 5:30 a.m. on both WPRI 12 and Fox Providence and Sunday at 10 a.m. on Fox. I’ll put the video up here, too, once it’s available.