Cicione optimistic on GOP legislative gains in 2008

With the Democrat-controlled General Assembly having imposed its will on Governor Carcieri this week, Giovanni Cicione, chairman of the Rhode Island Republican Party, remains sanguine about the outlook for GOP legislative gains in the 2008 election. With some Rhode Islanders frustrated about Dems' handling of the budget issue, there's "a great chance to get independent thinkers engaged," Cicione says.

The GOP chairman, who has had a crash course in partisan warfare since ascending to his post in March, made the observation during a taping today of WPRI-WNAC's Newsmakers. The show will air Sunday, at 5:30 AM on Channel 12 (CBS), and at 10 AM on Fox Providence.

Earlier this week, Ed Achorn and Dan Yorke faulted Carcieri for not adequately taking his budget campaign to the public, and they called this a failure of leadership. Asked about this, Cicione says he's not sure whether a greater public campaign would have made any difference when Democrats, and related interest groups, so severely outnumber Republicans on Smith Hill.

The chairman says the "positive" Republican message next year will focus on the perils of the partisan imbalance and a desire to put more money in the pockets of Rhode Islanders. Of course, Governor Carcieri has come up short after pledging to bring more Republicans to the General Assembly, and it's fair to wonder whether Cicione will be able to foster a higher degree of success.

Also appearing on Newsmakers this week is Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena, a former state senator. For his part, Polisena questioned the view among some that legislative Democrats have merely put the state's budget problems on hold for another year. Noting how 2008 is an election year, Polisena asserted that his former legislative colleagues wouldn't be likely to defer problems into an election year.

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