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Who is David Vogel, and why is he running against Cicilline and Doherty?

September 28, 2012

Providence lawyer David Vogel, the independent candidate in the First Congressional District, has mostly gained attention for attracting 8 percent of the vote in a recent Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poll. But who is he, and why is he running what some might consider a quixotic campaign versus David Cicilline and Brendan Doherty?

Vogel offered some answers during an appearance this week on RIPR’s Political Roundtable and Bonus Q+A. (You can hear more about his policy views by listening to the two segments linked in the preceding sentence.) Highlights:

— Vogel says he’s running because of frustration with the nature of contemporary politics, including the dominance of campaign contributions: “We have mounting evidence that suggests that our politics as we know it, which we all grew up learning is ‘of the people, by the people, for the people,’ has become anything but . . . . I’m not much of a protester, but I felt that getting involved was almost a necessity at this point in my life.”

— Vogel says he grew up as a Democrat, living in Rhode Island since he was a young child,”so I certainly do not share the ring-wing agenda.” He says he plans to vote for President Obama because of the lack of a pragmatic independent alternative, and favors Cicilline’s views over Doherty’s.

— Asked about the possibility of being a spoiler in the race between Doherty and Cicilline, Vogel says, “Tough. Look, I’m in the race. I’m constitutionally allowed to be in the race. The other people have to earn their votes just like I do. Oh well.”

— Vogel says he’s not accepting campaign contributions, to avoid being “beholden” to his contributors. He says he answers every question he receives via email (

— The independent says he consider himself part of a movement composed mostly of disaffected independents and Democrats against the political status quo. “There are a lot of people who have come of the woodwork who nobody has heard of,” he says, “and yes, even though I’m not in touch with them, I do see myself as part of a growing movement in that sense, and I hope that would continue.”

3 Comments leave one →
  1. prov voter permalink
    September 29, 2012 12:08 am

    I’m not sure anyone is questioning Mr. Vogel’s constitutional right to run for office. But they can still question whether there is a purpose in his bid that is worth potentially making it more likely for Brendan Doherty to win. It doesn’t matter whether that’s his intention.
    I have a constitutional right to say his candidacy is ill-advised and will not really help move forward the goals he professes to care about.

    • September 30, 2012 11:56 am

      @ prov voter:

      When did winning elections become an entitlement for incumbents who happen to exist within your own personal zone of comfort? And, for that matter, how ill-advised would you consider to be my candidacy if it so happened that it helped to defeat Mr. Doherty?

      By your logic, nobody ever should become involved with politics because it might upset the extant order of the political environment…. or is that only a problem when you personally happen to like said extant order?

      If you believe Mr. Doherty should not be elected, and clearly feel so negatively about my presence in the race, there is nothing stopping you from going to campaign for Mr. Cicilline. He would appreciate the help and, with an historical level of voter turnout in the First District that bounces between 40% and 55%, there certainly is more than enough slack within the system so that, with a concerted effort on your part, you easily should be able to help find enough votes to overcome any possibility that either I or Mr. Doherty would win.

      You might be interested to know that since the airing (and the posting on-line) of these two interviews for Rhode Island Public Radio, and then following the posting on WJAR’s website of the “10 News Conference” television program (taped on September 28), I have received positive responses (through e-mail and facebook) from around the district. With the single exception of yours, every comment has been complimentary towards the interviews, and also towards my candidacy; if my endeavor were so “ill-advised,” I would not be receiving such feedback.



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