Miracle in RI-1?

It was assumed pretty early on that the Eastern Rhode Island seat of retiring Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., would go straight to the Democrats. They found a strong candidate — Mayor David Cicilline — and the Republicans fielded a weaker one who has run a lackluster campaign. Plus, it’s Rhode Island, for crying out loud. Republicans can win — even conservatives, like Gov. Don Carcieri, can win — but only on occasion.

Suddenly, Public Opinion Strategies has produced a Republican-commissioned poll showing Republican John Loughlin tied with Cicilline at 41 percent, and leading by five points among “those most likely to vote.” Apply a five-point deduction for the fact that it’s a partisan poll, and you’ve still got a real race on your hands where none was expected.

So what in the world is happening in Rhode Island? Is there any reasonable explanation for this result, or is it just a partisan outlier? Although I can find no FEC records, the 527 group Americans for Common Sense Solutions has supposedly plunged six figures into the race for these ads, to make voters aware of Cicilline’s vote against Megan’s law when he served in the state legislature:

And here’s their radio ad.

Providence’s finances have become another major issue. In a recent debate, Cicilline said the city’s pensions have been fully funded during his term in office and that the city is in great fiscal shape. Days later, the city auditor released a memo stating flatly that this was a lie. Cicilline’s administration had been stonewalling the auditor, hoping to slow-walk him through the election, so the auditor filed public information requests under state law this summer until he finally got to look at the city’s books. His memo to the City Council states that last year’s pension payments weren’t made, and this year’s cannot be made because the city’s cash reserves have been spent down to $4.6 million, a mere fraction of what is owed.

Loughlin has about half as much cash on hand as Cicilline, but Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., will be coming to town Monday to help him raise some money, hoping to replace yet another Kennedy with a Republican.

Big picture: If this one is really competitive, then Katy bar the door.

Beltway Confidentialelection 2010john LoughlinUS

Just Posted

A man walks past the main entrance to the Hotel Whitcomb at Eighth and Market streets on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Closing hotels could disconnect hundreds from critical health care services

‘That baseline of humanity and dignity goes a long way’

Dreamforce returned to San Francisco in person this week – but with a tiny sliver of past attendance. (Courtesy Salesforce)
Dreamforce returns with hundreds on hand, down from 170,000 in the past

High hopes for a larger Salesforce conference shriveled during the summer

The remnants of trees burned by the Dixie Fire near Antelope Lake, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. (Christian Monterrosa/The New York Times)
California’s wildfires invisible effect: high carbon dioxide emissions

This summer California fires emitted twice as much CO2 as last year

Latinos are dying at a lower rate than white and Black people in California. However, Latinos have had the sharpest increase in the death rate in the last month, rising from 2.4 deaths per 100,000 people in August to 4 per 100,000 in September. (iStock)
Who’s dying in California from COVID-19?

In recent months, those who are dying are younger

The numbers show nearly 14 percent of San Francisco voters who participated in the Sept. 14 recall election wanted to oust Gov. Gavin Newsom from elected office. (Shutterstock photo)
(Shutterstock photo)
How San Francisco neighborhoods voted in the Newsom recall

Sunset tops the list as the area with the most ‘yes’ votes

Most Read