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Raimondo looks to broaden her base heading into 2013

December 9, 2012

Why would a freshly minted political star who has already banked more than $1 million in campaign fundraising stage a $25-per-person (suggested) football-watch event at a barbecue-burger joint in Providence’s Jewelry District on a Monday night in December?

If you’re state Treasurer Gina Raimondo, the answer probably has to do with expanding her base of support in the run-up to the 2014 gubernatorial race.

Raimondo offered a powerful example of political leadership in leading the push for last year’s landmark pension overhaul. The former Rhodes scholar and venture capitalist-turned-political phenom has a killer network of national contacts. Raimondo is a media darling. But the presumptive candidate still has to close the deal in a Democratic primary if she’s going to have a shot of vaulting into the governor’s office in 2014.

So the “Food, Friends and Monday Night Football” get-together tomorrow evening (December 10) at Rick’s Roadhouse offers an opportunity for Raimondo to expand her contact list beyond the realm of usual suspects. It won’t be surprising if this is just one in a series of future events meant to build Raimondo’s regular-person profile outside Rhode Island’s gang of 500 political obsessives.

There can still be surprises, of course, on the way to November 2014 (who, for example, expected former AG Patrick Lynch to fold his tent so early in the 2010 gubernatorial campaign?). Yet if “Raimondo represents the biggest threat” to Governor Lincoln Chafee’s re-election, as ProJo political columnists Ed Fitzpatrick writes today, then a Democratic primary marks one the biggest uncertainties for Raimondo. Some Democratic observers already refer to it as a “trap primary” for the treasurer.

It’s not hard to see why: Democratic primaries favor liberal candidates,  and a large part of the labor movement remains angry with Raimondo over the pension overhaul. It’s also true that Raimondo (like one of her potential gubernatorial rivals, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras) performed better among Republicans than Democrats in a WPRI-TV poll released in October.

Raimondo’s predecessor, Frank Caprio, had an enviable war chest when he ran for governor in 2010. There were questions back then about whether Caprio would change his Democratic affiliation to bolster his chances. He didn’t, and Caprio’s support among Dems splintered even before a controversial remark directed at President Obama sealed his third-place finish in a four-way field.

So with a bit less than two years until Rhode Island’s next gubernatorial election, Gina Raimondo remains a formidable figure, albeit one facing a challenging political puzzle.

UPDATE: Protest

Paul Valletta, president of the Cranston firefighters’ union, tells WPRI’s Tim White that his members may be joined by other firefighters in protesting Raimondo’s even tonight.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Kate Wonsette permalink
    December 9, 2012 8:48 pm

    Raimondo “still has to close the deal” in a Democratic Primary?? That’s some pretty biased reporting if you ask me. Last time i checked, she trails 1 other likely candidate – Taveras – in job approval numbers and the other – Almonte – also enjoys wide support and capacity to raise big money. if anything, Raimondo is in 3rd place in a primary, if its held now. these events should be rightly called, “i swear i am a democrat” tailgates.

    • Mister Guy permalink
      December 9, 2012 9:42 pm

      “That’s some pretty biased reporting if you ask me.”

      No, it’s pretty accurate analysis if you ask me, since Raimondo is obviously a political elitist that couldn’t care less about the middle & working classes in RI.

  2. Craig O'Connor permalink
    December 10, 2012 12:16 pm

    Raimondo helped ram through a pension deal that hurt working people, in part by falsely pitting social services against pension costs, while opposing tax increases on the wealthy elite (like herself). She is not a progressive. She is a shill for the 1% who disguises herself as something else. When she says she and Romney should pay an effective tax rate higher than mine, and then proposes actual legislation to make it so, then maybe I’ll consider her as something more than a Wall St. faux-liberal.

    Example of her opposition to rationalizing the tax system:

  3. December 10, 2012 4:04 pm

    Kate, if you want to consider it “biased reporting” to acknowledge the current political landscape, be my guest.

  4. leftyrite permalink
    December 10, 2012 11:01 pm

    This is the way to proceed.


  1. Firefighters target Raimondo as architect of pension changes « On Politics
  2. Firefighters Plan to Protest All Raimondo Fundraisers
  3. Raimondo won’t rule out changing parties; says she’s not thinking about it « On Politics

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