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Elections Roundup: Oct. 21, 2014

Gubernatorial debate

Gubernatorial candidates Democrat Gina Raimondo, general treasurer, Republican Allan Fung, mayor of Cranston, and Moderate Robert Healey will face off in a debate Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the Providence Performing Arts Center. The debate will be moderated by Tim White of Eyewitness News, with WPRI political analyst Ted Nesi and Providence Journal political reporter Ed Fitzpatrick on the debate’s panel.

The latest WPRI and Journal poll shows Raimondo ahead with 42 percent of the vote among likely Rhode Island voters, Fung in second place with 36 percent and Healey in third with 8 percent. At the time of the poll, 12 percent of voters remained undecided.


Cianci in the Sunday spotlight

Vincent “Buddy” Cianci, Independent mayoral candidate and former mayor of Providence, was featured on an NBC “Meet the Press” special Oct. 19, which focused on three controversial politicians seeking reelection who appear to have a reasonable chance of winning their respective seats. In addition to Cianci, the segment featured Louisiana congressional candidate and former governor Edwin Edwards and Larry Pressler, former U.S. senator from South Dakota.

“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd and correspondent Willie Geist discussed Cianci’s lead in the polls, suggesting Cianci is the most likely of the three politicians highlighted in the show to be reelected, according to the transcript. Geist said there was “affection” for Cianci among some Providence voters — though he added that some had reservations about having a former felon in City Hall.


Bipartisan against Buddy

Democratic mayoral candidate Jorge Elorza’s campaign confirmed yesterday that it received a $1,000 donation from Republican mayoral candidate Daniel Harrop ’76 MD’79, WPRI reported. In adherence with Rhode Island’s campaign finance laws, this is the largest amount an individual is allowed to donate to a single candidate. Elorza, a former housing court judge, and Harrop, a psychiatrist, are in a three-way race against Cianci, the Independent candidate and former mayor of Providence. It is possible that Harrop could formally endorse Elorza before the Nov. 4 election in order to encourage Harrop supporters and Republicans to support Elorza over Cianci.

The latest WPRI and Journal poll from Sept. 23 shows Cianci as the race’s frontrunner with 38 percent of the vote, Elorza at 32 percent and Harrop in third with 6 pecent. At the time of the poll, nearly one-fifth of likely voters surveyed remained undecided. Cianci also leads the other two candidates in the amount of cash his campaign has on hand: The latest campaign finance reports show Cianci has $301,539, while Elorza has $160,195 and Harrop has $90,058, WPRI reported.


Attorneys ally against Cianci

Three former U.S. attorneys — U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, former governor Lincoln Almond and Robert Clark Corrente — held a joint press conference last week to outline their concerns about Cianci’s criminal record and his candidacy, Rhode Island Public Radio reported. Corrente said the group of attorneys decided to speak out because Cianci “has relentlessly minimized and even joked about the crimes that he committed while in office,” including an assault in 1983 and a racketeering conspiracy in 2002. Corrente noted he did not believe that Cianci would be incorruptible if reelected, and Whitehouse noted that another Cianci administration could be damaging for the state’s economy and federal programming.


R.I. labor backs Republican lt. gov. candidate

The executive board of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO announced last week that the organization was joining other labor unions in supporting Republican candidate for lieutenant governor Catherine Taylor, WPRI reported. This is the first time R.I. AFL-CIO has endorsed a Republican candidate since 1986. Taylor received endorsements from Council 94 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the largest union of state employees, and unions for state teachers, correctional officers and service employees, WPRI reported. The latest WPRI and Journal poll released Oct. 14 shows McKee ahead of Taylor 36 percent to 27 percent, but 31 percent of the likely voters surveyed were undecided.

Though Democratic candidate Dan McKee has not received any endorsements from union groups, poll results showed him leading Taylor by a couple of percentage points in union households, though 28 percent of those households remained undecided.


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