A rose by any other name… wouldn't smell as sweet…
Yesterday Clay Pell, grandson of the beloved late Senator Claiborne Pell, announced an exploratory campaign for Governor in 2014.
Pell hasn't exactly been politically active in Rhode Island and to some his candidacy comes as a surprise. However in a state that embraces political dynasties it only makes sense.
Rhode Island voters love political legacies, i.e. Chafee, Caprio, Lynch. And now we have a really popular Rhode Island name running for governor: Pell.
Some say that the electorate today is too young to remember Pell Sr. so the name recognition will not make a difference. But those who say that forget that a lot of young people depended on the popular "Pell grant" to get through school. Not to mention, one of the most prominent bridges in the state, The Newport Pell Bridge, is named for Claiborne Pell.
The old-timers who adored Pell will have a hard time not supporting his grandson. Similar to how many John Chafee fans threw their support behind Lincoln Chafee.
Also there is a thing to be said for star-power. Pell has it. The other candidates in this race do not. Let's face it, Raimondo, Taveras, Block, Fung, are not exactly household names here in little Rhody; Pell is.
Plus let's not forget Pell's beautiful famous figure skating wife, Michelle Kwan. Not for nothing, but can you imagine the flu shot line if Michelle Kwan was the first lady giving flu shots to people throughout the state?
The potential of Pell's name on the ballot should make every candidate in this race double think their decision. Pell is going to have a major fundraising base, even Raimondo should be nervous. His name recognition will surpass all the other candidates, and he does have a prestigious resume.
He is a veteran with a bachelor's degree from Harvard and a JD from Georgetown. He previously worked as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for International and Foreign Language at the United States Department of Education. Rhode Islanders, especially our powerful teacher unions, love education, so this is another badge for Pell.
Pell's announcement yesterday guarantees to shake up the 2014 Governor's race and should rattle the other Democratic candidates. Pell will prove to be a true opponent in an election that was already heating up.
Dee DeQuattro is the assignment desk manager and digital news coordinator for ABC6. She studied politics and communications and holds a master's degree from Providence College. Follow her on twitter @deedequattro and log on to ABC6 .com for her latest in depth coverage of politics and news