Cicilline ’83 to seek third term

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Providence Mayor David Cicilline ’83 announced Tuesday that he will seek re-election to a third term in 2010, ending speculation that he might run for governor.

Announcing his decision in a YouTube video, Cicilline said he had brought $3 billion in new investments to the city, attracted new businesses and reduced crime. But he acknowledged tough economic times and other challenges ahead.

“I know that continuing our work is the key to putting Providence in the strongest position possible, poised for exciting new opportunities when the recession ends,” he said.

Cicilline, a Democrat, said improving schools, redeveloping land along the planned I-way corridor and improved public transit were on his agenda for a third term.

“I started this job to clean up our city government and grow our economy, and I intend to complete it,” he said in the video.

The announcement makes Cicilline’s name the latest to drop off the list of potential candidates to replace Gov. Donald Carcieri ’65 in 2010. Former Republican mayor of Cranston Steve Laffey recently announced that he would not seek the governorship.

Among those still potentially in the gubernatorial ring are General Treasurer Frank Caprio, Attorney General Patrick Lynch ’87 and Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts ’78, all Democrats. Former Sen. Lincoln Chafee ’75, a visiting fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies, told the Providence Journal last week that he is “very, very seriously” considering a run.

Those potential candidates, unlike Cicilline, have all held statewide office and so would have an edge in the governor’s race, said Marion Orr, director of the Taubman Center for Public Policy.

Thirty-eight percent of voters statewide rated Cicilline’s performance as “good” or “excellent” in a recent Taubman Center poll. The center has not conducted any polls of city voters only, but observers may look at Cicilline’s statewide numbers and wonder whether his popularity within the city is any better, Orr said.

A successful gubernatorial bid would have been “a difficult climb” for Cicilline, he added.

Mayors of central cities seldom advance to statewide office, Orr said, partly because of the different demographics of cities, which tend have more minorities, and states. Problems mayors deal with may also put them at odds with the rest of the state, Orr said.

“It’s a long haul from city hall to the governor’s mansion,” he said.

It’s unclear whether a fellow Democrat might challenge Cicilline in the mayoral primary, Orr said.

David Talan, chairman of the Providence Republican Party and a former mayoral candidate, said Cicilline will definitely face a Republican opponent in 2010, though “whether that will be me, I can’t say.”

Cicilline, he said, “needs an opponent.”

Talan said any Republican candidate would run on a platform of holding down spending, not raising taxes and of improving schools.

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