Dee from the Desk: Robitaille puts the past away
John Robitaille is ready to leave the past in the past. In a telling Facebook post yesterday, the former Republican Gubernatorial candidate who lost to Chafee in 2010 by just 2% of the vote, discussed the two Republican gubernatorial hopefuls Allan Fung and Ken Block.
Robitaille said, “Quite frankly, I don't give a damn what happened in the past; who voted for whom; who donated to whom; and the never ending GOP insider politics. The 2010 election is in the past and I've broken off the rear view mirror. I encourage my former supporters to do the same. This is about our future; not about the past.”
He goes on to say that he will endorse the candidate with the best plan and the most courage.
This is a big step for Robitaille. While he has been mum on the race so far this is one of the first public statements he has made on the candidates.
Based on the context of the statement it looks like forgiveness is in Robitaille's heart. He notes that he is going to leave the past in the past, clearly referring to the 2010 election where Ken Block as a Moderate grabbed 6% of the vote and many say that without Block in the race that 6% would have went to John Robitaille and he would have defeated Lincoln Chafee. But Ken Block was in the race and John Robitaille lost by 2%.
It would seem though that Robitaille is giving the go ahead to his loyal supporters to make their own decisions in this election and leave any bitterness they may have behind. If Robitaille is forgiving Block, then his supporters can too.
A lot of loyal Robitaille supporters were probably waiting to hear something from their former candidate before considering a candidate in the gubernatorial primary. Although inconclusive on who he will support Robitaille's statement is encouraging supporters to leave the past behind and look at the candidates for what they have to offer. He says that he will decide which candidate to support based on who would be the best leader not based upon party politics or past transgressions.
The statement is obviously a huge boost for the Block Campaign. Block has now overcome a huge hurdle; he has public forgiveness from Robitaille within the Republican Party. Although subtle, it is still there. At the same time Robitaille leaves who he supports open ended letting his supporters decide for themselves Fung or Block.
Robitaille says no one should expect an endorsement from him for weeks or months and he also issues a subtle warning; I kept my 2010 campaign out of the gutter and I hope these two gentlemen do the same.
Based on the thoughts in his Facebook post it would seem that Robitaille might be more than a little bit frustrated with the in fighting and the behind the scenes discourse taking place within both campaigns right now. While it may not be the candidates themselves, supporters on both sides are duking it out on social media sites and once again airing the “republican dirty laundry” for the world to see.
Robitaille also is probably tired of constantly being asked who he supports and why. He is giving Republicans the best thing he can with this statement, the go ahead to make their own decisions regardless of who he chooses to support.
Nonetheless based upon the Facebook and Twitter reaction to the statement, the Block Campaign is rejoicing at the news; now the campaign can move forward and leave the past in the past.
While it is good news for Block, there is still more work to be done. Republicans are stubborn and even though Robitaille is ready to let bygones be bygones and this will help encourage others to do the same, some of the base is likely to be less forgiving.
ROBITAILLE'S FULL STATEMENT FROM FACEBOOK:
Fung or Block?
People continue to ask me about which candidate I am backing for the Republican nomination for Rhode Island governor. The short answer is that I haven't decided and probably won't until each of these candidates have had a chance not only to present their entire platforms but to demonstrate they have both the courage and the skills to lead this state out of the death spiral that has caused most people to lose all hope of recovery and prosperity.
I've heard all of the arguments from supporters on both sides, and I've met often with both Mayor Fung and Ken Block to discuss their candidacies. Quite frankly, I don't give a damn what happened in the past; who voted for whom; who donated to whom; and the never ending GOP insider politics. The 2010 election is in the past and I've broken off the rear view mirror. I encourage my former supporters to do the same. This is about our future; not about the past.
I am only interested in determining who has the best plan, the most courage and the personal authenticity to be the type of governor this state needs. It's about governance – not politics. My choice – if it matters to anyone beside me – will be a thoughtful choice based on how these two men conduct themselves during the campaign and how they show real leadership over the coming weeks if not months. I kept my 2010 campaign out of the gutter and I hope these two gentlemen do the same. I kept my 2010 campaign out of the gutter and I hope these two gentlemen do the same.
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.