January 11, 2010

Laffey Still Not Running

Marc Comtois

Those convinced that the motivation for closing the RI GOP primary begins and ends with former Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey's possible bid for governor have lost a talking point:

Former Republican Cranston Mayor Stephen P. Laffey has opted against running for governor this year, despite a "Draft Laffey'' campaign by a conservative bloc within the state GOP to try to change his previously announced decision to sit out the 2010 elections.

Laffey told disappointed supporters over the weekend he was not running, and reaffirmed that in a statement issued early Monday morning that said:

"There has been quite a bit of speculation over the past several weeks as to whether I would enter the 2010 gubernatorial race in Rhode Island. This statement will put to rest any further speculation regarding my entry into the race... I am not a candidate for governor of Rhode Island and I have not changed my position.''

He continued: "To date I have not seen sufficient evidence to convince me that the majority of Rhode Islanders are in favor of the kind of fixes that I know Rhode Island needs to save it from financial collapse. Therefore, I am convinced that a campaign based on these ideas would not be successful.''

Hm. Gee, perhaps the ideological-based arguments being made by the primary closers (really "shifters"; the idea is to move the registration requirements back from "at the polling place" to 90 days before) are genuine after all....

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One thing is certain about Rhode Island politics: it's never boring.

I can't add any more arguments to what I wrote last week about the reasons for a members-only primary. Those reasons remain valid no matter who is running.

I don't have enough facts to have a strong opinion about Laffey's announcement. I haven't seen a quality state-wide poll of likely voters that might indicate whether he could win job, although my suspicion, based on conversations with friends and neighbors, is that he had a very strong chance.

I do know that a lot of people went out on a limb for him and he has left them hanging. Not an experience that they'll be eager to repeat.

Posted by: BobN at January 11, 2010 10:44 AM

--"He continued: "To date I have not seen sufficient evidence to convince me that the majority of Rhode Islanders are in favor of the kind of fixes that I know Rhode Island needs to save it from financial collapse. Therefore, I am convinced that a campaign based on these ideas would not be successful.''

In other words, it's going to take fiscal collapse -- municipal bankruptcies, bounced state payroll checks, etc. -- before the electorate of Rhode Island begins to come out of its political coma.

I'm afraid that Laffey's right.

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at January 11, 2010 10:44 AM

On second thought, there is a positive element to this.

The next Governor will have a "D" after their title.

The political party responsible for the collapse of Rhode Island will not be able to use an "R" as a scapegoat.

Since the Democrat primary will be open, perhaps it's worth considering "crossing over" to vote for the most liberal Democrat running? If the day of reckoning is now inevitable, might as well make it occur sooner so that the renewal can begin sooner.

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at January 11, 2010 10:49 AM


I don't see an upside to this. Take a read through Laffey's white paper on how to fix the RI economy. Now take a look at Chafee's or Lynch's or Caprio's position papers...oh wait, they don't have any.

Laffey, as I see it, was the only candidate that was going to bring real ideas and real reforms to the state house. Now we've lost that.

The #1 issue facing the state this year is the economy. Laffey would have run circles around his opponents. Now we get to select from three "legacy candidates" - all of whom owe their success to their last names, and offer little more than empty suits and hollow rhetoric.

Laffey said that he didn't see the public support for his plans. Well, as an independent and former Chafee voter, I can say right away, he had my support.

Taking solace in the fact that the state is likely to continue to stagnate while a democrat holds office is in no way helpful to those of us in the state that want to stay here, but may just be run out of town.

No, there's no good news in Laffey's officially-official departure from the governor's race.

But if he changes his mind, I'll be there to support him.

Posted by: jim at January 11, 2010 11:07 AM


I wasn't celebrating Laffey's declining to run. Though I had reservations about him, I considered him the only hope for the "Hope" state. Mainly because he would not have been afraid to take-on the General Assembly (and its union bosses / welfare queens), and during the race would have created support for non-incumbent GA candidates.

But since he's not running, RI won't just stagnate, but continue on its path to collapse. Business won't move there so the tax base will continue to shrink and the productive middle-class will continue to leave, even as the welfare class continues to grow and the unfunded pension liabilities grow larger.

So, absent Laffey, the collapse won't be prevented, so might as well bring it on sooner under the Democrat banner so that if there is to be a renewal, it can start that much sooner.

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at January 11, 2010 11:32 AM

Will the last few real conservatives left in the state get over this TAX RAISING PHONY!

The candidate that will fix this state is the one who talks about the problems taxpayers face everyday. Daffey talks about himself all the time.

You have to be totally deaf, dumb, and blind to see,

1) A Republican (In a state that would elect a nearly room temperature democrat over anything else - see 1990)

2) Who was CRUSHED by a moron like Linc Chafee, and

3) Who has lived out of state for the past few years (and most of his life) beat one of the two empty suit democrat pretty boys.

Come on you can't be that clueless, are you?

Please don't sell your soul to a man with an ego larger than our total deficit!

Our future is far too important to put in the hands of at best, a live-shot whore.

Posted by: NoKoolaidHere at January 11, 2010 11:37 AM

Laffey is still not running for governor -- that has been his position since last spring. Nothing has really changed since then. The debate over the closed primary thing was never specifically about Laffey. It still isn't.

Gio will get the gubernatorial candidate he deserves, one way or the other.

Posted by: Will at January 11, 2010 11:54 AM

Will, I just want to make clear (in case it wasn't) that my "Gee..." was meant to convey my belief that those in favor of closing the GOP primary do so for party/ideological reasons, not at the behest of a particular candidate.

Posted by: Marc at January 11, 2010 12:35 PM

There is nothing official in there, this is how Kathy Gregg interpreted his words. He said "I am not a candidate for governor of Rhode Island and I have not changed my position."

We no kidding Steve. You're not a candidate because you have not announced that you are a candidate. No where in Gregg's article did she quote Laffey as saying "Nor will I be a candidate." The door is still open. I won't believe it for sure until after the papers need to be pulled for signatures. There's nothing that keeps him from coming back out today and saying "NOW I'm a candidate for Governor."

Posted by: Patrick at January 11, 2010 12:51 PM

This isn't over. Steve just needs a few more rose petals thrown his way, that's all.

Posted by: rhody at January 11, 2010 1:20 PM

Come on kids, you're just not begging and groveling and kissing and fawning over Stevie Laffey enough to his liking. But please don't give up Laffeybots. Your hero is quite unstable and just may have end up running in the end. He really does need this ego fix so don't be surprised.

Posted by: Tim at January 12, 2010 7:35 PM

Why would a brilliant, hard working, energetic and brutally honest man like Steve Laffey want to govern a state full of rhodys and Tims who don't understand (like rhody)that the General Assembly has completely destroyed the state and (like Tim) think the Governor has done a good job.

Robitaille sounded pretty good on the radio, but no Republican can win in this cycle if he is inclined to defend Carcieri. Carcieri, the squeequel, is just not going to work.

Posted by: George at January 13, 2010 4:35 PM

It's good to see people on both sides of the political spectrum realize this state shouldn't be held hostage to Laffey's enormous ego.

Posted by: rhody at January 14, 2010 11:33 PM

Glad to see George can still type with his eyes closed and lips firmly attached to Laffey's backside.

Why can't we trade Laffey, Robitaille, and a 1st round draft pic to Mass for Scott Brown if (God help us) he should lose.

Posted by: NoKoolAidHere at January 16, 2010 12:03 AM
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