Dee from the Desk: The GOP's saving grace - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Dee from the Desk: The GOP's saving grace

Dee from the Desk: The GOP's saving grace

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We could be in for a heated political rematch.

Yesterday, Catherine Taylor announced that she will be resigning from the Division of Elderly Affairs to run for Lt. Governor as a Republican. It’s not a political shocker or any type of political bomb, it has been pretty obvious that she will run again since she almost ousted sitting Secretary of State Ralph Mollis in 2010.

Taylor has been waiting in the wings to run and now instead of running for Secretary of State for a second time, Taylor has found an office that she sees as better suited for her skill set; Lt. Governor. While many Rhode Islanders wonder what exactly a Lt. Governor does, it does have a few roles that fit nicely with Taylor’s background. For instance, Lt. Gov. Liz Roberts has led the charge with the Health Exchange here in Rhode Island. Taylor is well suited to work with the health exchange due to her background in the Division of Elderly Affairs and her work in the field of behavioral health care. The problem Taylor will face within her own party is the people who believe that Lt. Governor is a do-nothing job and as a result some will accuse her of being a political opportunist. Taylor will need to show the nay-sayers that she has plans for the office and she will need to make it clear to the public why she wants to be Lt. Governor and not Secretary of State.

Despite criticism from some Republicans, Taylor is likely the best hope of the Rhode Island Republican Party. So far, the party has a heated primary for governor which may ultimately devastate any chance of the GOP grabbing the highest office. They have yet to put up a candidate for General Treasurer or Secretary of State and the clock is ticking. Even if they were to announce candidates for the office unless they were independently wealthy and already had name recognition, it would be unlikely that the candidate would prevail. The GOP does have a candidate for Attorney General, State Senator Dawson Hodgson but he has an uphill battle taking on a well-funded incumbent.

The Rhode Island GOP, which is basically in self-destruct mode as the gubernatorial primary becomes more heated with attack ads and finger pointing, should be thanking the “great elephant in the sky” for Taylor. Taylor literally is one of the only hopes the party has to reunify itself after such a divisive gubernatorial primary. While the Block and Fung people are at each other’s throat Taylor may be able to bring the party together once again in support of her candidacy. If one Republican can pull it off on a statewide scale, it is her.

With Taylor in the race, the media is likely to pay more attention especially if she faces off against Ralph Mollis in the General Election. Taylor is not a joke candidate. She came within 1.2% of ousting Mollis in 2010 and now she is back for round 2.

Meanwhile, the news was probably not welcomed by the Mollis campaign who must recognize Taylor as a formidable foe. As for Cumberland Mayor Dan McKee and Representative Frank Ferri, they should be nervous too. If they face-off against Taylor it will certainly not be a cake walk. She will have had months running unopposed as well as several political connections of her own from her past experiences that she can call in for support. Her biggest set back in a match up against any of these Democratic opponents is name recognition. Clearly Mollis has the most name recognition having sat as a state officer for eight years and prior to that serving as Mayor of North Providence. Dan McKee is pretty well known in the Northern part of the state and Frank Ferri has served in the House of Representatives for seven years.

For the feminists out there, with Taylor in the race there is now a female candidate in three of the five state office races; Gina Raimondo is running for Governor, Nellie Gorbea is running for Secretary of State, and now Taylor is running for Lt. Governor.

Meanwhile for the political junkies the Lt. Governor’s race is now a race to watch as it has the potential to be a heated political rematch.

Follow me on 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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