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Gemma campaign takes the low road vs. Cicilline

August 27, 2012

UPDATE: The Associated Press is reporting that Gemma has dismissed Sionni from the campaign. A Gemma spokesman called Sionni’s Twitter comments “inappropriate” and said Sionni, who was not paid, would no longer be working on Gemma’s campaign.

UPDATE II:  Gemma’s campaign spokesman, Alex Morash, says in a statement that Sionni has been a volunteer for the campaign who drove the campaign bus and helped out with canvassing and office chores. Morash said Sionni has never been an advisor to Gemma. Sionni did not share his Twitter post with Gemma before posting it. “Mr. Gemma finds Mr. Sionni’s comments to be inappropriate and has asked Mr. Sionni to cease his campaign activities,” Morash said.

Can the Gemma-Cicilline joust for the Democratic nomination in the 1st Congressional District go any lower?

Those of us who have covered politics in Rhode Island longer than we like to admit can’t ever recall a campaign staffer referring to the opponent in a public sphere as a pedophile.

Yet, that is precisely what Anthony Gemma campaign staffer, Anthony Sionni, has done as the days dwindle down to the Sept. 11 Democratic primary.

Sinnoni took to his Twitter account to say that Cicilline  is a “liar, thief, crook,  Sandusky copy cat.’’

Sandusky, of course, refers to Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State football coaching assistant who is a convicted pedophile.

“We are not convinced that his statement wasn’t issued intentionally, as part of a smear campaign that Gemma has perpetuated over the past week and a half,’’ said Bill Fischer, spokesman for state Democratic Party Chairman Edwin Pacheco.

“This is the latest example of reckless and irresponsible behavior from Mr. Gemma’s campaign,’’ said Fischer in a Democratic Party statement. “Last week Mr. Gemma’s sensational press conference, attempting to tie Congressman Cicilline to voter fraud failed miserably.

“Now, this week, his campaign has resorted to comparing the congressman to Jerry Sandusky. These campaign tactics are irrational, slanderous and hateful. It’s abundantly clear that Mr. Gemma doesn’t know where the line is. We want to assure him that he has crossed it,’’ said Fischer.

“The RI Democratic Party requests that Mr. Gemma disavow his staffer’s statement; termineta the staffer; apologize to Mr. Cicilline for slandering him; and apologize to the voters of Rhode Island,’’ Fischer said. “Those would be good first steps toward decency.’’

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Patrick permalink
    August 27, 2012 7:14 pm

    Going by the title, I thought Anthony Gemma did something. It reads “Gemma takes the low road.” What did Gemma do? Some volunteer tweets something stupid and that’s the candidate? C’mon Scott. Headlines like that don’t help credibility.

  2. August 27, 2012 7:33 pm

    Good point. Should read `Gemma campaign takes low road.’ This guy isn’t a volunteer…campaign video shows he is on the team.

  3. Patrick permalink
    August 27, 2012 8:42 pm

    Gemma campaign says he’s unpaid. What video shows that he’s paid?

  4. August 27, 2012 8:49 pm

    Gemma’s campaign hasn’t replied to my inquiry. Meanwhile I have posted an update from the AP that says Sionni isn’t paid. Sionni has served as a driver and body man for Gemma, but it does look like he isn’t paid and I have noted that. Whatever his status, Sionni appears to be a pretty loose cannon.

  5. russ gelfuso permalink
    August 27, 2012 10:13 pm

    Anthony Sionni has worked harder and has done more to promote Anthony Gemma than anyone else on his “team”; paid or not. The guy has been relentless on facebook, constantly posting relevent news articles. I’m surprised that Gemma released him.

  6. August 27, 2012 11:06 pm

    Wow! Is it possible to go lower than dropping the Sandusky-bomb?! And why Sandusky? Is Sionni suggesting everyone gay is a pedophile? If Sionni is a reflection of the sort of people Gemma associates with then I want nothing to do with Gemma.

  7. August 29, 2012 2:41 am

    After tonight’s Cicilline/Gemma “debate” I am not encouraged. I may be forced to jump camps. Mr. Gemma’s conduct has curtailed my options.

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