In September, it is not going to matter who voted for who, or who had a scandal in their police department, but rather who can get out the vote.
The Republicans are faced with a difficult task in the September Primary, to make independent voters care and want to vote in it.
With a heated Democratic Gubernatorial Primary, the candidates are going to have to get people really passionate about their plans in order to encourage them to skip out on the Democratic primary and vote Republican. Another issue is that Republicans are only likely to have one or two contested primaries, while Democrats have pretty heavy primaries in each race.
Primary turnouts are low in general and they are especially low for the Republicans who are vastly out numbered by the Democrats in Rhode Island.
The other problem for the GOP gubernatorial candidates, Ken Block and Allan Fung, is actually getting Republicans who are not involved in the mainstream party life to turn out to vote. If Republicans who are not invested in the party feel either disenfranchised in the race because of the public discourse or don't feel strongly for one candidate or the other they may not turn out to vote in the primary.
If voters do not think a Republican could beat a Democrat in the General Election they will be more inclined to vote in the Democratic Primary. The Republican Party in general needs to address this and start getting the message out that a Republican, either Block or Fung, could realistically be the next governor. The candidates need to prove they can prevail in November and not just September in order to attract voters to their primary.
It will be interesting to see which campaign is able to mount the best ground game. If either of them plans to make an impact on Election Day the ground game should already be underway.
Fung has an advantage in Cranston where he has successfully run a ground game for his mayoral race. This will likely also spill into Warwick because Fung and Mayor Scott Avedisian are both mayors and have had a strong relationship in the past. In addition, Fung may be able to work his influence as a sitting mayor in other communities with Democratic mayors behind the scenes. Hopefully for Fung, his ground game is run a little more effectively than his recent press conferences which were a bit disorganized.
While Fung will play well in urban areas, Block has some inroads in local towns. Block has some chairmen from local town committees dedicated to his campaign and he has campaign volunteers who have run ground games for local candidates. Block will probably play well in the areas of Lincoln, Cumberland, and North Kingstown. Behind the scenes, Block has several candidates for local office supporting him, albeit some of them secretly, but perhaps the campaign will be able to mobilize these individuals in order to help turn out the vote.
Both candidates should be focusing their efforts on getting out the vote in the East Bay were there are a number of Republicans, who generally vote.
The two candidates also have an opportunity to mobilize the Second Amendment voters. These voters could easily be convinced to vote in the Republican primary since all the mainstream Democrats, (Pell, Taveras, Raimondo) do not bode well with them. Todd Giroux, a lesser known Democrat, does have strong Second Amendment views but his chances of taking out the well-known, well-funded Democrats is slim to none. If either Block or Fung can grab an endorsement from local sportsmen before the primary they are likely to be able to mobilize voters in the more rural areas of the state.
Right now, it appears the primary is likely to have low voter turnout and it is up to both Block and Fung to make sure they can get their supporters to turn out.
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.