Dee from the Desk: On the Campaign Trail - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Dee from the Desk: On the Campaign Trail

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The Democratic candidates for governor hit the campaign trail hard this week rolling out their policy plans. They, like the Republicans, have a lot of the same ideas, for instance, they all love internship programs and infrastructure. There are some differences in each of their plans. For example, Pell’s plans tend to cater the most to the left but in reality as a whole all their plans have very similar concepts.

For a while there, Clay Pell was becoming as scarce as his car. But Wednesday, for the first time since his announcement, Pell had his first major policy roll out to the press. This is also the first time the press got a crack at him since his car was recovered. Pell naturally was questioned about his car to which he replied, this is about his ideas not his car. Maybe he should have rehearsed that one more, he had to know he would be asked. Perhaps he could have injected some humor into a situation that has become the butt of many jokes in RI. The problem for Pell is that while many Rhode Islanders have a tough time comprehending economic policies and infrastructure plans, a gubernatorial candidate losing his car twice is easy for anyone to understand. Pell literally is known for the car incident even among people who purport to “hate” politics.

Until yesterday’s press announcement Pell has been running a press release campaign and some were starting to question whether he was actually in Rhode Island at all especially after it took days to retrieve the car from the auto body shop. Also, people have not forgotten that a Coca-Cola ad listed Pell’s wife Michelle Kwan as living in Washington D.C. However this week, Pell has been campaigning full force, the question is, is it enough to catch up to Gina Raimondo and Angel Taveras who lead in the polls?

While Pell has been scarce, Raimondo has been anything but. Raimondo has had more press conferences in the past two months than she has the entire time she has been treasurer. Raimondo has been rolling out her five part jobs plan and other key policy plans. While it might be exhausting the media, it is not necessarily a bad thing for her. Raimondo is getting her name out there and getting face time. She is hitting on issues important to a lot of different people and getting people to at least pay some attention. Raimondo does not have the luxury Angel Taveras enjoys. Taveras is Mayor of the State’s biggest city as a result he is constantly in the spotlight because of city events and initiatives. It’s not the same for Raimondo who is General Treasurer. Treasury events are a lot less sexy to the average person and the news media than an event centered around something happening in Providence.

Speaking of Taveras, it seems he is finally finding his confidence. Taveras was known to be a bit uneasy when there was a microphone in his face. usually bailing after answering a couple of questions. Now it seems that he is becoming more comfortable in the spot light and having an easier time dealing with the media. He still has some work to do but he has improved since he first took office. He has been handling the Gordon Fox investigation in stride. One of his key tactics when he doesn’t feel like answering a question is to play dumb. When asked about Raimondo’s infrastructure plan, Taveras claim he saw something about it but was focused on his own plan. Of course he read her plan but he doesn’t want to divert any attention away from himself.

Meanwhile the Republicans are still fighting over three pieces of pizza and it is getting nasty on social media. The Block campaign, which spent months arguing that the Fung Campaign was getting nasty and that they were taking the high road, is now getting downright vicious. A new Facebook picture that supporters are sharing around the web depicts Fung’s face photo shopped on “the Most Interesting Man in the World’s” body (from the Dos Equis ads) with the message, “I don’t always take union money… just kidding I do.”  Underneath it reads “Block for Governor.” I hope there is no copyright on those Dos Equis ads.

With the slew of negative posts between Republicans on Facebook you would almost forget there are Democrats in the race. Meanwhile, Fung looks like a wimp. Block is harping on Fung accepting money from unions and Fung’s situation with the Cranston Police, but you have not heard much out of Fung in response. Fung needs to do one of two things, either start campaigning against the Democrats and forget about Block or respond. The campaign could easily respond to this ad and say, ‘so, what, the mayor can get along with unions. Is that such a bad thing to show that an elected official can work with both sides? What does this mean for Block? Is he just going to write the unions off completely?’

It does seem to be getting personal in this primary. The Block campaign is trying to paint Fung as some union goon and Fung keeps firing back at Block for voting for Obama. The campaigns have now become about who is the better Republican and not who would be the better governor.

Twitter: @Deedequattro



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.
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