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With just a couple of days before the latest campaign finance filings, covering the first quarter of 2018, little has changed, with Gov. Gina Raimondo well-financed, while candidates jockey for position in what’s a crowded gubernatorial field.
Meanwhile, a look at a number of leading legislators and local leaders can raise considerable speculation, from the fate of the Pawtucket Red Sox stadium proposal, to who is poised to replace Mayor Scott Avedesian of Warwick, with Avedesian headed for the executive director’s position at the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council.
Here’s a look at various races, issues, with more to change by the end of Monday, April 30, when the latest campaign finance reports are due.
Pawtucket Red Sox Stadium
After almost daily reports, public conversation about a proposed new Pawsox stadium has virtually stopped. That doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of behind the scenes activity. Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello, whose own constituency in Cranston has reportedly opposed the stadium, holds the key to whether a proposal is even presented to the House of Representatives. The result could be a total rejection of the current proposal, which requires considerable state investment; simple approval; or moving a proposal to a fall referendum.
A source in the Pawsox organization has been touting about the interest of Worcester, which had indicated some months ago that it would try to entice the Pawsox to move to that city. But recently he’s been more optimistic about an agreement that would produce a new Pawsox stadium in Pawtucket.
Mattiello, as of April 27, had yet to file his first quarter campaign finance report – he will by the end of April 30 if he is in compliance with Board of Election requirements. Looking, however, at the Speaker’s fourth-quarter report shows some ties to the public relations firm that produced a video for the Pawsox about a new stadium.
Mattiello lists a payment to Checkmate Consulting of East Greenwich on Dec. 21 for $13,564 for consulting services. Checkmate, which is owned by Brad Dufault, produced the Pawsox video. Dufault is also the son of Guy Dufault, who is the Pawsox providing consulting services to the Pawsox.
The biggest news in the gubernatorial race was not financial, but a decision by former Democratic Secretary of State to switch from running for governor as an independent to running in the Democratic primary. That will pit Brown against Gov. Gina Raimondo, progressive Paul Roselli, and former state Rep. Spencer Dickinson. Dickinson, while not characterizing himself as a progressive, holds many of the same positions as Progressives.
Financially, here’s how the candidates line up. Three have filed their first quarter reports – Roselli, Republican Giovani Feroce, and Independent Joe Trillo. The remainder’s last filings were for the fourth quarter of 2017. Balances are:
Democrats – Raimondo, $3,349,632; Roselli, $1,525; Dickinson, $2,103; Brown just filed his papers on March 6.
Republicans – House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan, $117,339; Feroce, $500. The website for the Board of Elections, which lists campaign finance filings, shows that Cranston Mayor Alan Fung’s last filing was in January, representing the fourth quarter of 2017 and showing a balance of $240,423. The Providence Journal, however, was reporting that Fung had filed his first-quarter report, with a balance of $315,000. Perhaps there was a lag in time between the actual filing and its posting on the website, or Fung shared his information with the Journal before filing with the Board of Elections.
It Pays to be in the General Assembly leadership
Some of the leadership in the state Senate and state House of Representatives have hefty campaign fund balances.
The champion is clearly House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi, D-Warwick, with $653,167. He had not yet filed his first quarter 2018 report. House Speaker Mattiello, as of Dec. 31, 2017, had a balance of $266,372.
Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio, who has filed his first quarter 2018 report, has a balance of $224,050. Senate Majority Leader, Michael McCaffrey, D-Warwick, had not filed his first-quarter report but showed a balance as of the end of December 2017 of $173,266.
Who will run Warwick
With Scott Avedesian, Warwick mayor since 2000, leaving the position to become executive director of RIPTA, the new mayor – at least on an interim basis – will be Rep. Joseph Solomon. Avedesian is remaining in the mayor’s position into May to assure that there is no special election, which likely makes for a smoother transition.
Avedesian had not done much fundraising. He filed his first-quarter report on April 13, with a balance in his campaign fund of $15,164. That money can remain in the account in the event Avedesian runs for office in the future, or it can be contributed to another candidate or to charity.
Interestingly, Solomon filed his first-quarter report on April 12, a day before Avedesian filed, and showed a balance of $133,039.58 that includes a loan he made to his campaign of $100,000 on March 31.
Chafee in the race
Former Gov. Lincoln Chafee is likely to challenge Senator Sheldon Whitehouse in a Democratic primary election, hoping to win back a seat in the Senate. Chafee says it was Bernie Sanders supporters who urged him to run. Whitehouse supported Hillary Clinton.
But really, Sanders voters turning to Chafee? Wasn’t it Chafee who ran in a presidential election … yes, against Sanders (and all other Dems in the race)?
On the Island
Here are campaign finance balances of legislators representing Newport, Jamestown, Portsmouth and Middletown.
Legislator Fund balance Last filing
- Rep. Marvin Abney, D-Newport $55,074 Jan. 31, 2018
- Rep. John Edwards, D-Tiverton, Majority Whip $34,131 April 25, 2018
- Rep. Dennis Canario, D-Portsmouth, Tiverton, Little Compton $5,387 April 25, 2018
- Rep. Kenneth Mendonca, R-Portsmouth $2,886 Jan. 31, 2018
- Rep. Deborah Ruggiero, D-Jamestown $52,334 April 25, 2018
- Rep. Lauren H. Carson, D-Newport $6,273 Jan. 30, 2018
- Sen. Walter Felag, D- Tiverton, Warren $32,033 April 20, 2018
- Sen. James Seveney, D-Bristol, Portsmouth $7,466 April 6, 2018
- Sen. Louis DiPalma, D- Little Compton, Middletown $13,094 Jan. 31, 2018
- Sen. Dawn Euer, D-Newport, Jamestown $2,367 April 15, 2018
Here are campaign finance balances of members of the Newport City Council:
Councilor Fund balance Last filing
- Jamie Bova $3,059 For 12/31/17
- Lynn Ceglie $2,729 For 12/31/17
- Kathryn E. Leonard $23,002 4/16/2018
- Jeannie-Marie Napolitano $1,004 For 12/31/17
- Susan Taylor $28 For 12/31/17
- Henry Winthrop $15 For 12/31/17