Taveras, Solomon non-committal on backing Cicilline
Providence’s top two Democrats, Mayor Angel Taveras and City Council President Michael Solomon, are non-committal on whether they’ll support the reelection of Taveras’ predecessor, US Representative David Cicilline.
Asked about backing Cicilline during a taping this morning of WPRI/WNAC-TV’s Newsmakers, Taveras initially cited a strong tendency to support fellow Democrats and to strengthen the Democratic Party. Well, I asked, should political party outweigh a candidate’s performance in office? Taveras responded by saying he has sometimes backed non-Democrats, like Allan Fung, the Republican mayor of Cranston. (Ted Nesi has details from the transcript.)
In a separate interview, Solomon — whose fifth ward (traditionally the city’s highest-voting ward) is in the First Congressional District — was asked if he’ll back Cicilline for reelection. “I think it’s too early right now,” Solomon said, calling himself undecided in the race.
This early distancing by prominent Dems speaks to Cicilline’s slumping political standing in Rhode Island. At the same time, the host commitee for his Providence Marriott fundraiser next Wednesday includes House Speaker Gordon Fox, Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio, and a cadre of other longtime Democrats.
During last year’s mayoral campaign, Taveras and Cicilline kept a fair degree of separation. (Taveras also indicated an independent streak by quietly deciding against backing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Frank Caprio last year.)
All that came before Taveras inherited what he calls a Category Five fiscal hurricane in Providence. It was also before the most recent Brown poll — in a seeming indictment of the former mayor’s fiscal oversight — put Cicilline’s approval rating at 17 percent. For his part, Cicilline has defended his fiscal management in Providence.
After the taping of Newsmakers, I asked Taveras whether he could a envision a situation next year in which he would not support Cicilline for reelection. Here’s his response:
Right now, I’m worried about getting out budget passed and doing all the things we have to do, and we’ll deal with that next year. One thing I’ve learned about politics — so much can change so quickly. If you had told me a year and a half ago, I’d be mayor of the City of Providence, I would have said something’s going on there.
Meanwhile, Republican Brendan Doherty, the former superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, is due this afternoon to announce his campaign for the seat held by Cicilline. John Loughlin, Cicilline’s challenger from 2010, also plans to run.