March 5, 2009

Laffey WILL NOT Run for Governor in 2010

Marc Comtois

Former Cranston Mayor and Senate Candidate Stephen Laffey has announced that he will NOT run for Governor of the State of Rhode Island in 2010. More coming on WPRO's Dan Yorke show shortly.

Laffey spoke to Dan Yorke and elaborated on the reasons why he chose not to run. He stated he based his decision on a few factors. First, he clarified that his decision leaked out before he had been fully prepared to discuss it. He then stated that for the last two years, he's been out of politics and has enjoyed being with his family. However, the primary reason is that, as he sees it, there still isn't a real, broad-based movement striving to improve RI State Government and the current way of doing business (budgets, pensions, reforms, etc.). Therefore, he has concluded that not enough people want to really fix things yet and that a few people here and there, including himself, aren't enough to effect real change without broad support. Basically, he thinks that more Rhode Islanders need to wake up before the effort of individuals like himself will be able to do any real good.

It seems his thinking was affected by the recent elections where some good candidates were run on the GOP side and still lost. He also offered that, in his opinion, the GOP (both the state and national) "is a disaster." He was also influenced by seeing his work in Cranston undone over the last two years (presumably, until the election of Alan Fung). There is also, obviously, some disenchantment with the national party's role in his own Senatorial election. He also stated that he did no polling or the like that could have influenced his decision.

In short, Stephen Laffey has given up on Rhode Island...for now.

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Holy Moses.

Posted by: Monique at March 5, 2009 4:13 PM

what a shame.
i read that piece this morning and felt so good about myself.

i am speechless. Especially after going over those crosstabs

Posted by: scott at March 5, 2009 4:26 PM

Laffey has calculated that he can't win in 2010 so he's not running.
Oh well....
Btw, didn't you love Laffey's warm and fuzzy comments for no show Joe "he loves Rhode Island and wants what's best for the state" the barber Musciano??
Is there a better specimen for all that is wrong in RI than no show Joe the barber???
Laffey's a fraud.

Posted by: Tim at March 5, 2009 4:29 PM

Yeah, Holy Moses exactly. Well, that really opens the door for a Democrat Gov for the first time in, oh, a while. (Sorry Joe)

But everyone that I've talked to said Laffey had what it takes to turn the state around. I disagreed. There are more union members than Republicans in the Assembly. Laffey would say "jump" and the Assembly would respond with "bite me". He can't bully them around with the Assembly as constituted. He's better off continuing to try to build up the number of Republicans there to gather support for 2014. He can do anything he wants and they can easily override it if he's Gov.

Since the last election, I've been saying I want a Dem for Gov, so they can't blame the Republican Carcieri any more. Then all the chickens come home to roost and when the state is even worse, what do they run on? The Republicans should have a field day picking them off one by one.

Now if we can just get an effective state Republican party. Yeah, a guy can dream...

Posted by: Patrick at March 5, 2009 4:32 PM

Well who can blame him?? Laffey sure doesn't need the aggravation of fixing this hellhole. He sure wouldn't be doing it for himself. I say let the pigs wallow in their own squalor.
If I was Laffey I'd just sit back and laugh, saying "I told you so, you fat lazy stupid pigs"

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at March 5, 2009 4:42 PM

Laffey's the smartest guy I know. If he makes a substantial decision, rest assured that it was something that was well thought out over a period of time. Therefore, in that respect, I know he made the right decision.

I take his statement of not running for governor in 2010 at face value, meaning that he could run for another office in 2010, or for governor at a future time when Rhode Island is ready for substantial change from where we are at -- which is in a deep, deep hole.

Am I disappointed? Absolutely.

Am I surprised? Honestly, no.

I don't think Steve Laffey has given up on Rhode Island. As far as I'm concerned, most Rhode Islanders already did that long ago. Perhaps his decision will be the catalyst to jog Rhode Islanders into action in the future.

Posted by: Will at March 5, 2009 4:55 PM

I guess he agrees with my post of a couple of days ago:

"I tried, in vain, to see if my Garmin GPS would direct me to John Galt's valley in Colorado. Given the composition of the General Assembly, there is no optimistic scenario for Rhode Island, except perhaps in the distant future, and then only in theory."

Posted by: Tom W at March 5, 2009 5:14 PM

Tom, what would a lawyer do in John Galt's valley?

Republicans don't have to be staunchly anti-union. There can be two extremes that meet in the middle. As much as I disagree with Laffey's ideas I have to admire his courage. A guy like that and a decent guy running the unions could theoretically fix the labor problem here, but that is not our only, or even biggest problem.

A few days ago I made a sincere comment concerning the situation in Warwick. Make no mistake, Warwick is no Galt's valley, however, it does seem to be doing a decent job of things with Republican Mayors. I may be mistaken, I'm not as up to date with politics as I would like to be, but Warwick has been in the black for a while now, with few exceptions.

Posted by: michael at March 5, 2009 5:38 PM

"...but Warwick has been in the black for a while now, with few exceptions..'

Yeah, sure... raising taxes to the max every year since Chafee was first mayor and keeping the unions quiet...that's how "Republicans" stay in office in Warwick.

Those who say he's "anti-union" haven't paid much attention to Laffey. What he's been strongly against is politicians who are weak-willed and collude with unions against the taxpayers. I've heard him say it many times, that the unions have every right to "ask" and to try to maximize benefits for their members. It is the politicians who need to be a line of defense for the taxpayers. We've had very few, Laffey among the few, with the courage to stand up for the taxpayers.

As disappointing as his decision is, I can't really blame him and agree wholeheartedly with his rationale.

Posted by: George at March 5, 2009 6:11 PM

I don't think most Republicans are "anti-union," just anti-corruption. There is a big difference between private sector unions and public sector unions.

I don't personally have a problem with them in the private sector, in industries where they are practical and where employees have freely and without coercion voted to be represented by one, for all their pluses and minuses. However, I strongly believe in a right to work, where employees should not be forced to be union members as a condition of employment. In the private sector, if the employees demand too much compensation vs. the actual value of the work they do, the business won't survive or will move off shore. In other words, there is a check and balance.

In the public sector, I think unions are a corrosive and corrupting influence, and should generally be illegal. The only purpose I think they could serve would have to do with promoting public safety (real safety, not just padding the ranks). Simply put, they buy off politicians, in exchange for beneficial treatment, which is often at odds with the general public interest. In the long term, we simply can't afford them anymore, if we ever could.

Posted by: Will at March 5, 2009 6:45 PM

Like the last 30 years, the voters would have elected a Republican governor and patted themselves on the back for a job well done.
Simultaniously, they would have returned 90% jackasses to the GA, where the real power is.
I say let the state have a real jackass for governor. I'm voting for Liz Roberts in next year's primary. Sincerely. RI truly deserves her.

Posted by: Mike at March 5, 2009 7:52 PM

Smart move by a smart guy. Rhode Island's problem is not budgets, unions, taxes. They are all just symptoms of the state's rotten political culture. That is the problem. And Laffey knows you can't change culture in an election term. In fact, the notion in an earlier post showing Warwick as some sort of example of Republican success is case in point. Warwick is a disaster. Their fake Republican mayor (arguably to the left of David Cicilline) has spent the city's reserves down to about nothing, yet claims surpluses each year. He's a union hack and works behind the scenes against his own. What a sham. Yet he's feted by the State GOP. That's a case study of why the State GOP is a joke.

Laffey's best move is the move he made. His next best would be leaving the state.

Posted by: Jackson at March 5, 2009 10:29 PM


>>Tom, what would a lawyer do in John Galt's valley?

Oh, I guess ply my trade in a place that isn’t economically and ethically dysfunctional. Note how in recent months RI has made the New York Times (twice) and National Journal, the topic of stories describing our self-induced moribund economy.

>>Republicans don't have to be staunchly anti-union. There can be two extremes that meet in the middle.

Will said it well, but for an additional “my two cents.” I can understand (and even agree) with the theory of unions in the private sector – however the actual experience has shown that over the long term they hurt workers (see, e.g., GM; Ford; Chrysler; the almost extinct U.S. steel industry; the airlines and their periodic forays into Chapter 11 or out of business). As for public sector unionization, Will said it well so I won’t repeat.

>>A few days ago I made a sincere comment concerning the situation in Warwick. Make no mistake, Warwick is no Galt's valley, however, it does seem to be doing a decent job of things with Republican Mayors. I may be mistaken, I'm not as up to date with politics as I would like to be, but Warwick has been in the black for a while now, with few exceptions.

Labels aside, I wouldn’t say that Warwick has had Republican mayors. RINO mayors absolutely, but Republican mayors? NO.

And when you factor in unfunded pension and retiree healthcare obligations, i.e., accounting on an accrual rather than cash basis, neither Warwick, the State of Rhode Island, or probably any other municipality in Rhode Island has been in the black for several years, if not decades.

Posted by: Tom W at March 5, 2009 10:52 PM

I'm just doesn't seem like Laffey to roll over like that. I can't help but think there's more to the story.
So, does Trillo have the right stuff, or do Republicans dive into the Democratic sandbox now?

Posted by: rhody at March 5, 2009 11:20 PM

Rhody, Laffey didn't roll over. He made a very smart decision.

People here just seem to be happy with the way things are.

Laffey, who's got the experience, intelligence, courage and energy to make a difference...can make more of a difference some other way, and maybe even some other place.

Posted by: George at March 6, 2009 12:06 AM


Laffey's not running... right.

I believe that this is a genious PR move to thust himself into the spotlight and get this state to wake up and start talking. The more people discuss it the more they will realize that the State needs a "Steve Laffey" to get the job done.

He'll run and I'd bet a stick of Laffey Taffy on it.

Posted by: Flash Gordon at March 6, 2009 1:32 AM

Draft Laffey? Hmmm. Maybe he's open to begging from the populace. ;)

However, they are much more likely to beg for deliverance after 2 to 4 years of an economic depression with a Democrat in the governor's chair.

Leave no doubt about it, barring a knight in shining armor with an open checkbook coming to the rescue on the GOP side, it will be a Democrat in 2010, most likely Frank Caprio. Even though I think he's a complete and utter phony, he's probably the least worst of the Democrat options.

On the bright side, perhaps the prospect of a Democrat in the governor's seat will enhance the chances of the GOP to elect General Assembly candidates as a counterbalance. It'd be hard for us to do worse than 2008.

Posted by: Will at March 6, 2009 2:23 AM

For those who believe Laffey is not a leader for not running, go read Art of War.

I think it would be possible to draft Laffey, but it would be a dumb decision. First, politicians only have so many strikes (election losses) and then they're damaged goods. Laffey has one already. If he were to suffer a second, he'd be in a (political) life or death in his next. Second, if he were to win, what's he going to get done? The Don is criticized because some believe he didn't get as much done during his 8 years as he should have. When you have a union-driven, left wing, veto-proof Assembly with people like Gordon Fox and TPW in leadership positions, how much can you really get done? What we need is an Assembly that can sustain a veto. I'm fine with a Democratic party controlled Assembly, but let's have a Republican Governor whose veto can be upheld. What that then means is cooperation and consensus building. No one gets everything they want, and the people usually end up with a better deal. Even Democrats in the state are starting to admit that an Assembly completely controlled by one party is bad. Now what if they also control the Governor's seat? It'll be one big giggly game of grab-ass for at least four years.

Posted by: Patrick at March 6, 2009 8:01 AM


Excellent point. Besides he is still young. What 47?

Posted by: Scott at March 6, 2009 8:28 AM

Flash, I think you've got it (and so did Linc Chafee in the ProJo this morning).
He would rather be drafted than simply contend for the GOP nomination (and it would appeal to his ego, too). He's smart enough to know that if Trillo is the best the GOP can do, people will get down on their knees and beg him to run. I wonder if Trillo is really just a placeholder working in cahoots with Laffey.
And if Chafee officially enters the race, I guarantee you Laffey will not sit it out. Too much personal animosity there.

Posted by: rhody at March 6, 2009 10:41 AM

I have read rhody's silly conspiracy theories before but this is the dumbest. Trillo and Laffey are not working together- anybody in the know, knows that. Laffey is simply not running. He realizes RI will not change, and he wants to make big changes. If there is personal animosity its mostly on chafee’s side because he can't get over losing his father's senate seat, and he lacks any other skills other than running for office and hoping people will support him becuase of his father. Now, if Chafee were to run it would be great for the Republicans because he pulls so many liberals, which hurt the Demos. McCain got 36% of the vote in RI. A decent Republican can get to that level in 2010 and with Chafee in the race, that could be enough to win. Alot of Republicans may get in, but one of them will not be Laffey. Do some polling (better yet run and tell Chafee to do one) and you will see what I am saying instead of running your mouth here talking nonsense like you usually do.

Posted by: Mighty Mississippi at March 6, 2009 11:20 AM


You're clueless. Seriously clueless.

I don't think Laffey will change his mind regarding this specific race this year, even if we begged. However, I don't think that precludes other options.

"I wonder if Trillo is really just a placeholder working in cahoots with Laffey."

I don't think Trillo will run unopposed, if he runs at all. However, if Trillo is a placeholder, he apparently doesn't know it yet. He's certainly not in cahoots with Laffey, as anyone in the RIGOP can attest to. It's beyond laughable.

"And if Chafee officially enters the race, I guarantee you Laffey will not sit it out. Too much personal animosity there."

I'm pretty sure that Laffey's decision took into account the high likelihood that Chafee will be entering the gubernatorial race. The only question regarding Chafee is which label he will do it under, because everyone knows he wants the job, even though he's not remotely qualified. Chafee's ego, but not his mind, is certainly a lot larger than Laffey's (and that's saying something). Chafee's a nice guy, but he's a nitwit, and apparently, he's the only one that doesn't realize it. If ignorance is bliss, he's probably the happiest guy in Rhode Island. I wish him well -- somewhere else.

PS I'd vote for Frank Caprio before I'd vote for Linc Chafee, and I don't much care for Caprio. I know a lot of other Republicans who would do the same thing, if they bother to vote at all. I absolutely mean that.

Posted by: Will at March 6, 2009 5:34 PM

Before we start the namecalling, let's see how this plays out.
And do you really think Laffey will sit out if Avedesian gets in (either for governor or as Chafee's running mate)? Everybody knows how much Laffey hates Avedesian. Laffey would even run as a Democrat if he felt that was the only way he could stop Avedesian. Steverino operates on ego and spite.

Posted by: rhody at March 6, 2009 6:37 PM

you are truly brain damaged. There is no convention therefor no "draft".
Maybe SL is waiting for an all-jackass government to so sicken the voters that he wins in a cakewalk come 2014.
Maybe, being a millionaire, he decided he has better things to do in this short lifetime then being an ineffectual governor of a scummy, hopeless state governed by marxist abominations like you.


Posted by: Mike at March 6, 2009 7:21 PM

Rhody, please stop with the running mate stuff. No such thing in RI. Sheesh. You're not helping your case.

Posted by: Patrick at March 6, 2009 9:32 PM

Mike, think you can prevail upon your buddies in the Latin Kings or the Oriental Rascals to seek the GOP nomination for governor? THEY'D go after "Marxist abominations," I'm sure. :)
You remind me of a guy I had once had problems with who was always threatening to get the Latin Kings to deal with me. Well, I'm still waiting, all these years later. I just wish I could've seen the LKs laugh in his face if he indeed made that request.

Posted by: rhody at March 6, 2009 9:35 PM

Rhody, some of us here know Laffey pretty well, so your theories are laughable beyond measure.

Those who truly know him are quite happy for him, knowing his faith has guided him to the right places at the right times. It's funny, but you seem to be in greater denial than those who would jump at any chance to campaign for him.

Laffey doesn't screw around. If he says he isn't running for Governor of RI, he is not running.

Posted by: George at March 7, 2009 12:41 AM

George is right. Laffey is a lot more family minded than some might think. I think the time off of the campaign trail has made him a lot more reflective. I am sure to a metaphysical certitude that he is at peace with his decision. It wasn't made on a whim. Of course, I'd love for him to reconsider said decision, but I really don't see it happening in this case, for this particular race. I'll just be happy if he stays in Rhode Island at this point.

I know George, and I know he's serious when he says "I'm outta here" (of course, we hope you stay where you are ... we need all those taxes you pay). There are a lot of George's out there who've been holding on for something to happen eventually here, like in Louisiana for instance, and now that we know it's not coming soon (if ever), it doesn't exactly lend itself to continued drudgery in exchange for little or no future reward.

I'm reminded of the Barry Goldwater slogan "In your heart, you know he's right." Unfortunately, Laffey's right.

Posted by: Will at March 7, 2009 2:25 AM

Up until recently, I worked with a guy whose wife was a relative of the Laffey clan, and knew him well.
Apparently, Steve is not universally loved even within his own extended family. Wonder if family members tired of him like Cranston voters did.
I have no knowledge of his current financial situation, so I will not speculate on that issue.

Posted by: rhody at March 7, 2009 3:45 AM

So, let me get this straight: Rhody can't prevail on his lame, desperate reaches for argumentative he conjures up some cheap shot rumor about a friend of a friend's wife who is somehow related to Laffey (all of which could just be made up). That, my friends, is a classic ad hominem attack.

Posted by: Jackson at March 7, 2009 8:41 AM

rhody- what a pathetic soul, conjuring up rumors, conspiracies all because laffey challenged the unions and chafee. The spiteful and bitter ones with egos are the chafee guys...still can't get over losing daddy's inheritance-the senate seat...or maybe all they money they had in the belo stock which is in the toilet now. Laffey still has lots of $$$. He was OUT of the market before it crashed and shorted it ever since.

Use your skills where you can maximize the results- RI ain't it, Laffey knows that.

Posted by: Dante's Inferno for taxpayers is RI at March 7, 2009 9:19 AM

Oh, the emotions any mention of Laffey that does not kiss his tush stirs up. Control yourselves for a moment, people.
He'll be back. The moment Avedesian looks beyond Warwick City Hall...

Posted by: rhody at March 7, 2009 10:19 AM

you know rhody, I'm beginning to believe you ARE Avedisian. Who else could be so paranoid, clueless and afraid of his own shadow at the same time.

Posted by: George at March 7, 2009 6:41 PM

George, if you think I'm Avedesian. I'm flattered. You're giving me a little more credit than I deserve (blushing).

Posted by: rhody at March 8, 2009 2:06 PM
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