Avedisian on the rise

As noted here earlier this week, former US Senator Lincoln Chafee is talking up Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian as a GOP guberantorial candidate in 2010. In this week's Phoenix, I take a deeper look at Avedisian, the most prominent Rhode Island Republican to emerge unscathed from last November's election.

Here's an excerpt:

Avedisian is keeping his options open. It’s not inconceivable, he says, that he will continue to seek the mayor’s office in Warwick, although the possibility of being governor “does appeal to me. It would interest me. It would be something that I would have to consider.”
How he would fare against a well-funded conservative challenger, like [Steve] Laffey, in a GOP gubernatorial primary remains open to question. Yet Avedisian has succeeded in building a strong foundation for his next move, even if he needs to develop his war chest. As one close observer of Rhode Island politics says, “The good thing about Scott, everyone likes him — Democrats, Republicans, independents. Everyone seems to have nice things to say about him.”
The downside of this bonhomie, as Avedisian freely concedes, is how he is very chummy with many of his would-be Democratic rivals. Last year, for example, he decided not to run for lieutenant governor, even though he could have formed a potent ticket with [Governor Donald L.] Carcieri. Avedisian denies that his friendship with Elizabeth Roberts, the Democrat who won the lieutenant governor’s seat, was the deciding factor, but he says, “Elizabeth and I would never run against one another.”

The 2010 gubernatorial race promises to be intense, with likely interest on the Democratic side, at minimum, from Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline, Treasurer Frank Caprio, and Attorney General Patrick Lynch. We'll have to wait to see if Chafee stays out, and if Laffey gets in.

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