As the race to succeed the late Thomas C. Slater for a seat in the Rhode Island House took shape in recent weeks, observers said backing from the Progressive Leadership Fund - a political action committee representing progressives from the environmental, labor and women's rights communities - could play a decisive role in determining the winner of the Democratic primary.
But Peter Asen, interim director of progressive advocacy group Ocean State Action, said the forces behind the fund may not coalesce behind a single candidate in the 11-candidate field before the October 6 primary.
Patrick J. Quinn, director of the Service Employees International Union State Council, adds that labor will probably not weigh in until the general election.
Indeed, the race seems to be generating little heat in Rhode Island political circles with the General Assembly out of session and all eyes on health care reform in Washington.
The sleepy state of the race probably favors Slater's son Scott, who is running for his father's seat and is considered the frontrunner given his name recognition and long ties to the district. But a little shoe leather could go a long way in what is expected to be a low turnout race.