Gage: RI Gubernatorial Race is Heating Up

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Money isn’t everything, right? Right?

Let’s get one thing straight, there is no doubt that the Democratic incumbent has a distinct advantage in funding. With over $1.5 million, Governor Raimondo certainly has the resources to run an effective re-election campaign in 2018.

However, aren’t concrete achievements and effective governance just as vital? Does Governor Raimondo have the record to deserve our support? I think not.

Raimondo centralized her candidacy in 2014 around fiscal responsibility, expanding job opportunities, and convincing companies to locate in Rhode Island since so many have fled due to an unfriendly business climate over decades.

While she formally affiliated herself with the Democratic Party, many would have argued that the former treasurer was a fiscal moderate–mostly for her leadership in making so-called “pension reform” happen.

Can’t Buy Our Governor’s Office

Yet many of Governor Raimondo’s critics argue that she has steadily shifted from the middle to the far-left with regards to her fiscal policies.

By backing the idea of free in-state tuition for Rhode Island college students, Governor Raimondo has drawn criticism from conservative counterparts that she has grown to embrace the principles of progressive liberalism. Yuck.

Attacked From All Angles

Critics on the left, however, argue that Governor Raimondo has remained too moderate on fiscal policy. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Raimondo must  maneuver through hoops to convince the general electorate that Rhode Island is being led in the right direction. Good luck. She’ll need it. (And money, too.)

While the Governor is sure to pull out talking points about economic growth and restored prosperity, Rhode Island still remains one of the least friendly business climates in America. That’s a hard sell for the incumbent.

Perhaps that’s why so many are chomping at the bit to take her on.

RI Gubernatorial Candidate Patricia Morgan
RI Gubernatorial Candidate Patricia Morgan

Is Fung the Favorite?

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan have jumped into what is shaping up to be a tough Republican primary race. So has former Alex and Ani CEO Giovanni Feroce.

Fung, who lost to the sitting Governor in 2014, argues that Raimondo has inflicted far more harm than good in leading the state of Rhode Island.

Yet, while a generally popular figure in the state’s Republican Party, Fung has drawn criticism for Cranston’s pension system. It has a large unfunded liability.

And then there were the conflicts inside the police department.

The second time around, however, Fung hopes to run on his experience, qualification, and successes as mayor of one of Rhode Island’s largest cities. It’s a decent argument.

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan has generally stood in staunch opposition of Governor Raimondo. With an A+ rating from both the NFIB and Council for Freedom and Prosperity, Morgan may have the voting record to garner a great deal of conservative support in the state.

Some critics of the minority leader argue that Morgan is not vocal enough in her opposition to Rhode Island’s Governor. Does she have the management experience to run our state?

Name recognition will loom until she develops a more widespread state profile. Time will tell if Morgan can raise enough money to bolster her status.

Trillo Talks. Does Trillo Know?

Some residents in the state argue that a “Trump Republican” is just what our state needs working on Smith Street in Providence. State Rep. Joe Trillo has been a vocal supporter and advocate of policies and stances supported by President Donald Trump. Is it tactical for the RI GOP candidates to be vocally supportive of the President, or could this be a fatal mistake? And he’s running as an independent. Why?

What about Giovanni Feroce? He’s got a magnetic presence, and an eye towards innovation. He helped bring Alex and Ani into prosperity. But he’s run into some of his own business problems that will assuredly be held against him if he decides to run.

And then there’s Lincoln Chafee. Will the former Governor, who has plenty of his own foibles yet is beloved for his folksy charm, run for the state’s top job yet again? He loves Rhode Island. And he doesn’t like Governor Raimondo. But does he have the stomach for another tough battle?

If the 2016 election taught us anything, it’s that anything can happen in politics. The battle for Rhode Island’s highest office is on! Are you ready?! You better be.

Matt Gage
A South Kingstown native and former Hendricken High School Class President (2017), Matt Gage is a political science major at Catholic University. Send him an email at mattygage1@gmail.com.
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