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In the Phoenix: Doherty, Old Timer's Tap

I've got a cover story in this week's Phoenix on Colonel Brendan Doherty's nascent Congressional campaign. What struck me in reporting this piece - and I've touched on it some on the blog over the last couple of weeks - is the wildcard that is the GOP primary.

Doherty seems, on paper, to be the strongest candidate the Republican Party could nominate to take on Democratic Congressman David Cicilline. But his GOP rival John J. Loughlin II has a real base of support in the party that is not to be underestimated.

The small universe of voters in the primary - anywhere from 12,000 to 20,000 voters - adds to the volatility here. Get out the vote efforts are going to be even more important than usual. And the strategy for organizing voters could shift significantly if the Rhode Island GOP decides, in October, to close its primary - shutting out independent voters.

The straw polls on the primary-closing vote, as I report in the piece, suggest that contest is remarkably close, too - injecting even more uncertainty into the race.

A contested GOP primary is not all bad news for Doherty, though. It will be an opportunity to sharpen the candidate's organizational and debating skills, if nothing else. We'll be watching.

Also in this week's Phoenix, I've got an extended riff on my blog post from earlier this week about whether Rhode Island could be a mecca for the sort of "paywall" the ProJo is looking to erect. And Dan McGowan has a great little piece on the Old Timer's Tap, an old politicos' bar that's fallen on hard times.

Read up, people!

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