August 18, 2010

Democratic Sweep in North Providence

Carroll Andrew Morse

Democrats won all three seats in the North Providence special election for town council (AP report via WJAR-TV (NBC 10) available here). A quick perusal of the campaign finance reports reveals that...

  • Not only Democrats, but establishment Democrats had a good night. Dino Autiello, winner in District 3, received $1500 in total from 4 Democratic State Reps (Arthur Corvese, Dominick Ruggerio, Gregory Schadone, and John Tassoni). He also received $1000 each from the "RI Laborer's Public Employee PAC" and the "RI Public Employee Education PAC". (Rep. Schadone, it should be noted, was one of the challengers to Gordon Fox for the House speakership, so there are multiple layers of political alliances in play here.)
  • On the other side of the Democratic-establishment-money complex, at-large winner Alice Brady received $918 from Rep. Corvese, but no money from any other state Reps. In between, Kristen Catanzaro, also running in District 3 (there are two councilors per district in NP), received a total of $600 from Reps. Corvese, Ruggerio and Schadone.
  • Interestingly, especially given the tense relationship between North Providence Democratic Mayor Charles Lombardi and the North Providence firefighters, Brady returned a $150 contribution from the NP Firefighters union, though this may be a straightforward matter of principle, as her campaign finance report states "did not realize it was a union PAC check" in the "purpose of expenditure" section of her campaign finance report. Autiello and Catanzaro each accepted $150 donations from the firefighters union. Neither Catanaro or Brady received any other PAC money.
Is this a bellwether warning of business-as-usual in Rhode Island politics? A warning for reformers that nothing can be taken for granted? Or a case of a unique situation in a unique community?

Insights from people on the ground in North Providence are most welcome.

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If Corvese and Ruggerio are writing checks for these folks, only the players have changed. Not the game.

Posted by: rhody at August 18, 2010 10:52 AM

Stupid is as stupid does. Forrest Gump

Posted by: kathy at August 18, 2010 3:20 PM
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