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Prior on GOP's brand and when the race was lost last night

I spoke with Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty's always gracious campaign manager Ian Prior this morning for my post-mortem on the GOPer's loss to Congressman David Cicilline (that post-mortem will appear in this week's issue of the Phoenix).

He said a few interesting things that didn't make it into my piece.

  • On whether the national GOP brand sunk Doherty's candidacy: "I think it's problematic," he said, adding later, "you're basically playing defense - not only against your opponent, but against your party."
  • Prior also argued, as I note in my piece, that Mitt Romney and the national party proved a drag on Doherty and other moderate, Northeastern Republicans like Senator Scott Brown and Congressional candidate Richard Tisei, both of Massachusetts. 
  • He said that, if the cliche is that undecided voters break to the challenger in the end (a cliche which isn't actually borne out by the facts, by the way), perhaps in Rhode Island the rule of thumb is that undecideds break for the Democrat.

I asked Prior about the town-by-town results. I was particularly interested in Woonsocket, which Republican Congressional candidate John J. Loughlin won by a slim margin in his 2010 tilt with Cicilline, but which Cicilline won by a solid margin - 55-39 - this time around.

He said the campaign figured it had to win Woonsocket and one of either East Providence, Pawtucket, or Bristol if it was to pull out a victory. When the Woonsocket returns started to pour in, Prior said,  he knew the race was probably lost.

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