Race for Congressman Cicilline’s seat gets heated

The race for the seat held by Congressman Cicilline just got a lot more aggressive and interesting over the weekend with democrat Anthony Gemma jumping in. He's come out slugging, but not against Congressman Cicilline.

He's already bashing the republican candidate, Brendan Doherty. Political experts are calling this race unusual. They said, at this point, voters won't be picking the best candidate for the job, but the one that's not as bad as the others.

First we have incumbent Congressman David Cicilline, whose poll numbers are dipping into the teens. He spent the week apologizing for hiding Providence's financial problems when he was mayor.

Then republican candidate Brendan Doherty has been criticized for having no political experience.

And finally Anthony Gemma, owner of “Gem Plumbing and Heating” who jumped into the primary race for U.S. Congress Sunday. After his speech at Prospect Park in Providence, he refused to answer any of our questions.

Monday, candidate Gemma was eager to talk. So we asked him why he waited 24 hours and he said, “Well, I did run in 2010, so I was paying attention and learned a lot of lessons.”

Businessman, Gemma said the media can be aggressive at press conferences and he didn't want to deal with that, so waiting to talk is all part of his strategy. Also part of his plan, ignoring Congressman Cicilline and focusing on the general election against Brendan Doherty, who he said took his state police pension as soon as he could.

“Well actually that's not true. I didn't take my pension as soon as I had the opportunity to,” said Doherty, “So Mr. Gemma should look into that.”

Political communications professor and former campaign manager Dr. Kay Israel said, at this point, none of the candidates are running good campaigns.

“It's not necessarily the positive spin that is being emphasized and that tends to emphasize again why you should vote for me rather than my opponent, rather than saying here are the reasons you should vote for me, period,” said Professor Israel.

Professor Israel said Doherty is the favorite right now, but that could easily change. As for Congresman Cicilline, we made several calls to his spokespeople Monday. They didn't return them.