When news broke last week that Governor Lincoln Chafee would speak at the Democratic National Convention, it no doubt caused some head-scratching here in Rhode Island; Chafee’s approval ratings have been poor, and the governor, while sometimes praised for his candor, isn’t exactly the smoothest of public speakers.
Today RIPR kicks another in our `One Square Mile’ reports on a Rhode Island community. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay takes a break from the political circuit to take us to the Point Judith ferry dock.
Block Island‘ is just nine miles from the Rhode Island mainland but a world away. Home in January to just 1,000 hardy souls, in summer the pork-chop shaped island’s population bulges to ten times that.
In 30 years in Rhode Island politics, Lincoln Chafee has been elected to every office from Warwick city council, to U.S. Senate and governor. He never has been a Democrat. Yet now independent Governor Chafee will have the biggest speaking role any Rhode Island political figure has had at any Democratic National Convention since 1964, when Sen. John Pastore was the keynote convention speaker.
Dave Layman, a former television news anchor and public relations consultant, is taking over as communications director for Republican Brendan Doherty’s campaign for U.S. Representative in the 1st District.
Layman, 67, of North Kingstown, has recently been a corporate communications consultant and a fixture as a panelist of the local PBS Channel 36 public affairs program, `A Lively Experiment.’
Take your pick: Last night’s televised WPRI debate between 1st Congressional District Democratic candidates, U.S. Rep. David Cicilline and challenger Anthony Gemma was A) a reality TeeVee show disguised as political dialogue, B) a Saturday Night Live parody of a congressional debate or C) both.
We will choose C, but only because the scene, as watched on television, contained elements of farce and the repellent nastiness that too often infects political theater these days.
One of our favorite ProJo reporters is Washington correspondent John Mulligan, who is covering the Republican National convention in Tampa and doing his usual fine job on the national political beat.
But I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at Johnny’s piece today on Page One of the Projo. The article deals with the latest Republican anti-Obama trope: That if you built a business, you don’t deserve credit because the government helped.
Joseph Lazzerini, who says he was Anthony Gemma’s field director and a paid staffer until he quit August 8, says in a statement released moments ago that he left the campaign because of a homophobic atmosphere at the Gemma campaign office.
Lazzerini, formerly of Providence, says he now lives in South Attleboro.
His statement reads:
“I’ve been following the unfortunate events that unfolded today between the Gemma campaign and the Democratic Party of Rhode Island. As a former Gemma campaign staffer, I felt it was important to issue the following statement:’’
Incumbent Democratic Congressman David Cicilline holds a double-digit lead over his primary opponent, businessman Anthony Gemma, according to a WPRI-Channel 12 public opinion survey released tonight.
The survey of 302 registered voters in the First Congressional District shows Cicilline with 43 percent, Gemma at 31 percent, about 20 percent undecided and 4 percent supporting perennial candidate Christopher Young. A similar Channel 12 poll in May gave Cicilline a 4 point lead over Gemma.
UPDATE: The Associated Press is reporting that Gemma has dismissed Sionni from the campaign. A Gemma spokesman called Sionni’s Twitter comments “inappropriate” and said Sionni, who was not paid, would no longer be working on Gemma’s campaign.