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Sore Losers to Mount Write-in Campaigns?

September 27, 2010

So the State House word is that three House Democratic primary losers – Doug Gablinske, Mary Ann Shallcross Smith and Al Gemma are poised  to announce at a State House news conference tomorrow that they are running as write-in candidates in the November election.

All three were defeated in the primaries by reasonable margins, except Gemma, of Warwick, who was clobbered. Shallcross Smith lost to former Lincoln Town Council President Jeremiah T. O’Grady. That district is anchored by Lincoln and a slice of Pawtucket. O’Grady had 836 to 746 for Shallcross Smith.

Gablinske was beaten by newcomer Richard Morrison, a lawyer, in a district that includes parts of Bristol and Warren. Morrison won by about six percentage points.

These lawmakers put House Speaker Gordon Fox in a tight spot, because all three were supporters of the speaker. But how does Fox support them now when Democratic primary voters have spoken?

He cannot and he will not.

The three losers are upset that they were opposed by labor union and Democratic Party liberal activists in the primaries. In a news release issued by Gablinske today, he said  the story was that “special interests’’ –code word for labor unions – knocked out these incumbents.

“The common theme in the primary elections for these representatives was that special interests, both statewide and local, worked to recruit, train, staff and fundraise for the primary challengers and were successful in working to defeat these reform-minded Democrat representatives, by overwhelming the elections with resources and feet on the ground from outside the districts.’’

Gablinske goes on to complain that voter turnout in these elections was “very small,’’ ranging from 10 to 20 percent. If that was the case, how did the out of district special interests overwhelm the electorate.

Talk about incumbents contracting State House disease, that affliction that so often makes lawmakers associate these seats with themselves and lose all touch with their constituents. Gotta love those Smith Hill inflated egos!

Why is it that these incumbents blame outside forces instead of looking at the mistakes they made at the State House or in their own campaigns. They all knew this would be a tough year for incumbents. Change has been in the air in primaries across the nation.

So why didn’t they work harder? State House sources say Gablinske was told by House leaders to be more diligent and was offered professional campaign help, which he rejected. He didn’t walk the district as Morrison did and on Election Day there was no Gablinske presence at either the Benjamin Church Manor polling place or the Rockwell School polling station. Plus, Gablinske voted for a school funding formula that will cost his own constituents millions in property taxes. His direct mail was amateurish and Morrison’s was well done.

One of  Gablinske’s mail pieces even had him juxtaposed with Deborah Gist, as if anyone in Warren or Bristol knew who she was. It looked to many people in his district that he cared more about moving on up in the State House hierarchy than working for the people who put him there.

And if so many business people think these lawmakers were reformers, where were they on Election Day? A low turnout doesn’t absolve a candidate from taking a race seriously. We are not talking Gore-Bush in Florida in 2000 here; all of these candidates were beaten fairly under rules they were all aware of.

I guess the message is never to underestimate the sense of entitlement of some people at the State House.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Jake permalink
    September 27, 2010 10:52 pm

    This also puts the Democratic Party, and Democrats running for statewide office in a difficult position, and unless the Democratic Party leaders deal with this decisively with an infusion of resources to the primary winners, it may start to free up those State Representative candidates who do not necessarily support the entire slate at the top of the ticket to speak up. Mischief has a tendency to spread.

  2. Craig permalink
    September 28, 2010 1:41 am

    Sore freakin’ losers! They don’t like the results of democracy, so they whine and blame everyone but themselves. Thanks for the article, Scott. You are absolutely right that these three are fools who don’t have anyone to blame but themselves, so they dig up a bogey man or two to blame. Not to mention, they are insulting the people who voted on primary day, insinuating that they are sheep, not competent adults. The State House is a better place without these three smug, entitled politicos.

  3. Ron Behagen permalink
    September 28, 2010 10:20 am

    well that’s an expert opinion?
    who/what entitles this former Belo employee>who really should have been told to write sports> to decide who can seek or serve in public office?
    certainly not his career.

    so Organized labor aka the real OC now dictates not only who wins but who can run?
    apparently so according to Scottso as Mr Vileno so affectionately references him (that old Leo’s crowd never goes away)

    and old man Gemma w/his patriotic ties and bringing his wife to GA sessions must really have rubbed Sir Scott the wrong way…but if his name was “Al Nee”,”Al Reback” or “Al Duffy”he would have been encouraged to fact, “Scottso” would have printed the labels for the ballots…

    how about those Red Sox..Sir Scott!!

  4. Bethany permalink
    September 28, 2010 3:25 pm

    “Reasonable margins”? So 18% of the voters cast a vote, and Shallcross Smith loses by 90 votes and you feel this is a “reasonable margin”? Shallcross walked her entire district, did you mention that in your article Mr. McKay? And let’s be clear on exactly what “Labor Union” you are speaking of; namely the NEA who were upset that our elected officials didn’t vote on measures they way they wanted them to; which would benefit their members, not this state as a whole entity.
    I want a representative who represents the will of the people, not the agenda of the NEA. Kudos to those who have the spirit to not back down and stand up for what is right. Let the people decide on November 2nd; and if that means I am writing in the best person for the job, then so be it.

  5. rhody permalink
    September 28, 2010 4:22 pm

    I haven’t heard people bring up yet that it was Joe Lieberman who started this trend, winning the ’06 general after losing the Dem primary to Ned Lamont. Now, people on both sides are refusing to accept a primary verdict (not sure whether it’s bad or good that losing primary candidates get a second bite of the apple). Wonder how happy conservatives who support these legislators are to see Lisa Murkowski try to go write-in in Alaska, or if Mike Castle tries in Delaware.
    Ron, your screed sounds like something Luke Witte might have typed out immediately after you and Dave Winfield mugged him LOL.

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