Dee From The Desk: Will the Real GOP Candidate Please Stand Up - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Dee From The Desk: Will the Real GOP Candidate Please Stand Up

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 Does it ever feel like the wrong person is running for governor? If you are a member of the Rhode Island Republican Party it may seem that way.

We are two months from the Republican Primary and the party is still arguing about former gubernatorial candidate John Robitaille.

The Block fans have a renewed call now that “Allan Fung did not support John Robitaille for Governor and did nothing to help him in 2010.” The argument is based on a 2010 mailer sent just days before the election by the “Lincoln Group” depicting Allan Fung and Lincoln Chafee with the words “This Tuesday, Our Choice for Reform,” and “The Team You Can Trust.”

According to a GoLocalProv report, the Lincoln Group was led by Mike Levesque, a former chairman of the GOP and a donor to the Fung Campaign. (Back in 2010 some members of the GOP did support Lincoln Chafee due to loyalties to his father John Chafee). The Block people have deduced this scenario to mean that Fung was inadvertently behind the mailer and knew about it. However, in 2010 after the mailer was released Fung did take to the media, talk radio in particular, to say that he was not informed about the mailer and had no part in it. Still Block supporters argue that, that is “a likely story.”

The article also quotes John Robitaille saying Fung did not support his campaign and waited until last minute to endorse his candidacy.

This may very well be true but Fung could argue that while he may have done nothing to help John Robitalle, he also did nothing to hurt Robitaille either. Meanwhile Block arguably did hurt Robitaille by siphoning off 6% of the vote during his own campaign for Governor in 2010. 3% of Block’s votes could have put Robitaille over the edge and into the governor’s office.

The Block supporters are the first to say that the “Block stole the election from Robitaille” argument is getting pretty old but at the same time neither campaign seems willing to let the image of John Robitaille go.

Last check, John Robitaille is not in the race and has been vocal about his decision to not support either candidate. Although his public statements seem to sympathize a bit more with the Block campaign, Robitaille has made it quite clear that he thinks voters should decide for themselves without his influence.

The resurfacing of this old mailer is doing the one thing that Robitaille warned against, living in the past and not looking forward to the future of Rhode Island and the RI GOP. Republicans need to get over it. John Robitaille is not running but they do have two qualified candidates to choose from.

Who was nicer to John Robitaille in 2010 should not make a difference when choosing a candidate to lead the state. Unfortunately it is easy to get lost in the name calling and finger pointing when it comes to politics but realistically it should really come down to who do you believe to be most qualified to be governor and who you trust more.

Some Republicans seem to be holding on too tight to the past. Robitaille may have been the GOP all-star candidate but that is in the past. If Block supporters are tired of hearing about “Block stealing an election,” throwing a mailer from 2010 in Fung’s face is not really helping the case to stop using the tired argument.

2010 was four years ago. Rhode Island is a different place. Both candidates are different people and this is a very different election. The GOP should spend more time discussing real issues and less time worrying about John Robitaille and the 2010 election results.

The more the GOP Primary focuses on internal party issues and who is a better friend of John Robitaille’s, the more divided the party becomes and the closer the Democrats are to winning the General Election in November.

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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