Heard on the hustings: state Representative David Segal could announce a run for Patrick Kennedy's soon-to-be-vacated Congressional seat as soon as next week.
Segal, the conventional wisdom has it, would pose a threat to Mayor David Cicilline's Congressional bid - vying with him for liberal and Providence votes. But if there is a broader anti-Cicilline vote out there - rooted, more, in his mayoralty of a big city and his brother's legal woes than his politics - Segal could conceivably help to divide it, and deliver victory for Cicilline.
Businessman Anthony Gemma's potential entry to the race, though, complicates the picture. Might Gemma take votes away from candidate Bill Lynch - viewed, perhaps unfairly, as the moderate guy in the race at moment? And if so, does that clear room for Segal, on the left, to go head-to-head with Cicilline?
One thing is clear: to be viable, Segal will have to attract some major out-of-state money. He's got some connections there, in part because his work in the state legislature has plugged him into national advocacy circles: good government types, greens, criminal justice folks, etc.
But this will also be a test, as one source put it, of whether the Obama netroots machine can be put to use in lower-profile Congressional races.