Raimondo’s big fund-raising quarter
Democratic General Treasurer Gina Raimondo will report that she has raised more than $210,000 in the latest quarter, sources close to Raimondo say. That would give her a cash on hand campaign kitty of about $500,000.
The reports for the last quarter from statewide candidates are due on Oct. 31. That Raimondo managed to harvest the $200,000 in an off-year quarter from a down ballot office is impressive enough. But even more daunting is that she did it without holding a large, publicized fund-raising event. And she pulled in this haul while she was working overtime on the pension issue that has come to define her short tenure in in office.
Raimondo, who won her first election to any office in 2010, is obviously being helped by her high-profile pension overhaul crusade. Whether she wants it or not, her fund-raising will spur speculation about Raimondo’s next political move. She can run for reelection in 2014, but if she is successful in getting even half a loaf at pension solvency, Raimondo would be seen as higher office material. No one in the RI Gang of 500 believes the 40-year old Rhodes Scholar and onetime venture capitalist is going to be challenged much by running for a second term as treasurer.
Because she is sitting on so much campaign cash, Raimondo would be able to help lawmakers who support her pension plan. At this point it is too early to divine where she may be headed, but should anything open up in the U.S. House or Senate, Democrats would likely love to have a candidate as well-known and financed as she appears to be. And, of course, there is always the governorship. Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent, was elected with just 36 percent of the vote in 2010, compared to the 62 percent of the electorate captured by Raimondo. So far, Chafee and Raimondo have been getting along fairly well, even though the media perception is that on the pension issue, it has been Raimondo driving the bus while Chafee’s role has been as its chief passenger. Chafee was able to persuade Raimondo to include provisions designed to push the municipal pensions systems to solvency, a feather in his campaign cap.
While it is far too early to crystal-ball a 2014 electoral environment, any office holder with Raimondo’s smarts, media savvy, persistence, charisma and fund-raising prowess is bound to draw reams of speculation from Democrats and the Media Mentioners. Most politicians will publicly wave away such talk as premature, as Raimondo surely will. But privately they love it because in politics the perception of power is often tantamount to achieving it. So far, Raimondo has managed to remain sincere in a business where insincerity is endemic.
Rhode Island is one of only two New England states that has never elected a woman governor or U.S. senator…Massachusetts is the other.