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Taveras outraised Raimondo by almost 100K in 2011

February 1, 2012

Although state Treasurer Gina Raimondo arguably enjoyed the highest national profile of  any Rhode Island politician last year, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras raised almost $100,000 more than Raimondo in 2011.

Calculations by RIPR, based on state campaign finance reports, show that Taveras raised just under $350,000 last year, compared with a haul of $263,000 for Raimondo. Taveras was helped by a killer Q4 in which he raised more than $190,000. If we exclude federal officials, this tally likely makes Taveras Rhode Island’s top political fundraiser of 2011.

So what does this mean?

Taveras and Raimondo, as I’ve noted, developed their profiles last year as pragmatic progressives – traditional Democrats forced by dire economic circumstances to focus on tough fiscal problems. The public has responded, with Raimondo and Taveras enjoying the highest approval ratings in the latest Brown University poll.

Raimondo became the subject of “Raimondomania” last year as she publicly led the push for overhauling Rhode Island’s troubled pension system. Taveras got plaudits, too, but a lot less national hype while tending to the unglamorous task of saving Providence from fiscal ruin.

Taveras’ lead in the fundraising race is striking for a few reasons, including how Raimondo is a former venture capitalist who was able to tap a thick Rolodex of friends and colleagues from the world of finance. She also helped encourage the development of the pro-pension overhaul group Engage RI, backed by a number of well-heeled individuals.

Digging a bit deeper, Raimondo rolled over Republican candidate Kerry King in 2010, while Taveras emerged as the overwhelming choice of Providence voters in a three-way Democratic primary.

The political future looks bright for both Raimondo and Taveras.

Still, Taveras’ fundraising numbers for 2011 are striking, given the difference in their backgrounds. Even though the Providence mayor isn’t wealthy or a former venture capitalist, he was able to attract a very broad community of political supporters as Providence faces stiff and ongoing fiscal struggles.

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