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GOP sets deadline for leadership hopefuls

The Rhode Island Republican Party has announced a March 2 deadline for those interested in competing for a leadership position with the party for the next two years. While the 14-person nominating committee (which includes such Carcieri loyalists as Jim Rosati and J.R. Pagliarini) is slated to meet prior to the March 15 state committee gathering, Barrington lawyer-activist Giovanni Cicione has already claimed the goveror's support, a key hurdle for any candidate.

Some observers question whether the governor's support will hold up, and whether other candidates will emerge. For now, though, Cicione appears to have the field to himself.

Cicione, a native of Ithaca, New York, moved to Cranston in 1975, and his background includes degrees from George Mason University and Boston University's law school. He interned for Bill Weld, worked at the Cato Institute, and more recently, was GOP state counsel for legal operations during last November's election.

The GOP chairman hopeful has circulated a two-page bio to city and town committee members, as well as a 10-point plan for growing the Rhode Island Republican Party. Here are some excerpts:

n      “The state party needs a leadership team – not just a leader. There is too much for any one person to do alone and without the constant and energetic support of dozens of key players we will never create the structure required to put this state on a more even keel.”

n      “We need a fundraising plan and a fundraising team that work together to sustain the party.”

n      “Establish system within the party for monitoring and pursuing ethics and election law violations by Democrats. These charges are too often ignored, pursued on a shoestring, or not followed through.”

n      “Provide logistical support and voter ID information for all Republican candidates.”

n      “Clean up the voter rolls statewide – this is long overdue and we need to be vigilant. When dead people vote, they seem to be for Democrats.”

n      “Provide resources to reinvigorate city and town committee. Without active city and town committees we can’t get people excited about being Republicans.”

n      “A business plan with defined goals. Quantifiable targets and a responsible leadership team tasked with meeting them."

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