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What do James Diossa and Sheldon Whitehouse share in common?

November 27, 2012

Q: What does James Diossa, a rising political star from hardscrabble Central Falls, have in common with one of Rhode Island’s members in Washington, DC’s “Millionaires Club“?

A. They both act like incumbents when it suits their political interests.

That’s probably why Diossa — who got 59 percent of the vote in the first (five-way) stage of CF’s mayoral election — turned down an invitation to debate opponent Joe Moran on WPRI/WNAC-TV’s Newsmakers.

The official explanation from spokesman Bill Fischer:

“James has already participated in three debates with Colonel Moran,” Fischer told in an email, noting that Diossa and Moran took part in candidate forums prior to the primary. “Given the short window between the primary and the general in the special election, we are respectfully going to decline the invitation.”

Yet Diossa’s spurning of a statewide broadcast appearance seems quite like how Whitehouse limited his debates this year with GOP challenger Barry Hinckley.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Meghan W. permalink
    November 27, 2012 6:56 pm

    Comparison seems misplaced and bizarre. Diossa and Moran have debated 3 times since November 1st. I went to the many debates that have taken place already and Channel 12 had Ted Nesi as the moderator. Seems like they should have brought a video camera and taped those instead of trying to get the candidates to agree to their re-do.

  2. Margaret Richardson permalink
    November 27, 2012 7:14 pm

    If I were Dossa and I were leading by such a large spread I would skip debating the other guy too. Moran/Moreau, same difference. He’s all done. You just want a televised fight.

  3. November 27, 2012 7:28 pm

    Meghan, What you consider “bizarre and misplaced” is a fact of political life: frontrunners try to limit their exposure to challengers in which the challenger has the most to gain.

    Margaret, did you watch the legislative debates on Newsmakers earlier this year? Were they not a good example of public interest broadcasting? Yes, they were.

  4. Margaret Richardson permalink
    November 27, 2012 7:34 pm

    Mr. Donnis, how many people will vote in the Central Falls special election? How many of those watch non-cable TV? How many of those watch channel 12? How many of those watch Newsmakers???

    You just want a televised fight.

  5. November 27, 2012 8:34 pm

    Margaret, people can watch Newsmakers and draw their own conclusions about whether it’s about “a televised fight” or something else

  6. November 27, 2012 8:46 pm

    Seems like the webized fight is right here….keep going haha jk

  7. Juanita permalink
    November 28, 2012 4:15 am

    It bewilders me that media site like this actually take Joe Moran seriously AND create news coverage for his agenda. Only in Rhode Island.

    Moran “retired” at age 47 as police chief with a taxpayer funded pension worth more than $61,000 — which happens to be the HIGHEST pension in the city. At age 47.

    And, then, he was hired THE VERY NEXT DAY by the corrupt former Mayor Chuck Moreau. He got a backroom deal that left him with taxpayer benefits like health care with no co-pays, a city matched 401(k), a clothing allowance and bonuses all worth nearly $160,000 a year.

    After his contract was voided, Joe Moran sued the taxpayers & won a settlement over $75,000 – all while the City was declaring bankruptcy!

    And, as police chief, where was Moran when his friend the Mayor was wheeling and dealing with the boarding up of houses?

    And this guy actually convinces the media to create news coverage of him?? Four words. Only in Rhode Island.

  8. John permalink
    November 28, 2012 10:26 am

    I think that the underlying point is that arrogance and back-room conceit are not promising ways to start out as Mayor. If Diossa, who clearly will win, can’t handle a short debate with Moran, how will he face future challenges? His advisors were wrong to advise him to skip this opportunity to highlight his vision and potential.

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