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Rhode Island Tip Sheet: GOP woes close to home

September 20, 2011

STATE OF THE STATE: While national Republicans continue to enjoy political gains in some surprising places, the woes of state Representative Daniel Gordon point to ongoing troubles for the Rhode Island GOP. Sure, one could initially argue that Gordon’s weekend arrest wouldn’t hurt the party, since Gordon had been tossed out two weeks earlier. But as Ted Nesi points out, Gordon won election last year, filling the seat formerly held by John Loughlin, because of a very sparse GOP bench. This isn’t a new situation. And a meager farm system helps explain why RI Republicans — in a congenial atmosphere last year for picking up legislative seats — made very modest gains. State GOP chairman Ken McKay, a seasoned political pro, can be expected to bring his A game to next year’s legislative races. But the party is still associated with two of the three state reps arrested this year — not exactly the image one wants to cultivate while taking on the ruling Dems.

MAKING THE ROUNDS: Representative Gordon spoke with reporters today to offer his side of the story. He blames post-traumatic stress disorder and related drinking for his legal problems in Massachusetts. I asked Gordon why he didn’t disclose his record to voters last year. You can read his response here.

ELSEWHERE: A state Supreme Court recommendation that Democratic Representative Leo Medina be prosecuted, criminally or civilly, for improperly practicing law, is “still under review,” says Amy Kempe, spokeswoman for AG Peter Kilmartin. No timeline for finishing it.

COLLEGE HILL: Former New York Times reporter David Rohde, who made a memorable escape from the Taliban, is coming to teach at Brown in the spring 2012 semester.

COLLEGE HILL II: Former Brown political pundit Darrell West returns to town at 3 pm Monday, September 26 (Salomon, 001), to discuss “How Technology is Transforming Government and Society.”

ON THE TOWN: Providence City Council prez Michael Solomon has a fundraiser, starting at 6 this evening, at the Roger Williams Park Casino.

RED SOX: Hard to believe, given the team’s soporific play in recent weeks, but Boston still has close to an 88 percent chance of making the post-season, says Baseball Prospectus.

MEDIA: The PolitiFact franchise is looking to grow, says Nieman Journalism Lab.

CENTRAL FALLS: Governor Lincoln Chafee plans to tour the Dexter Street small business district in Central Falls Wednesday afternoon, starting at World Travel Service at 3:30 pm.

RI IN NYC: Former WPRO reporter Allison Gaito is attending the grad J-school at Columbia University.

BIRTHDAY: Jim DeRentis; Graham Vyse.

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