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Loughlin Fires Back

The sniping continues between the camps of GOP Congressional rivals John J. Loughlin II and Brendan Doherty, vying for the chance to unseat Congressman David Cicilline - or defeat any Democrat who takes down Cicilline in a primary.

Loughlin lined up 16 city and town GOP chairs for a fundraiser in September. And Dante Bellini, a Doherty spokesman, issued this statement yesterday in reaction:

It is disappointing that these Republican chairs appear to be throwing their support behind Mr. Loughlin even before they have had an opportunity to meet with Colonel Doherty. It is very early in the game to be making that decision especially given the obvious fact that the various Chairs attached to the event don’t have all the facts about both Republican candidates.

So it is odd as well as disappointing that the event billed as “Chairs for Loughlin” is scheduled even before Colonel Doherty had a chance to respectfully ask for their consideration.

Loughlin spokesman Michael Napolitano fired back early this morning:

“It is clear that Mr Bellini is not communicating with his candidate. Brendan Doherty was invited, and appeared before the RI GOP Chairman’s Caucus in May. He started the meeting by stating that he had a previous engagement and was not able to stay for more than a few minutes. When confronted by a couple of questions, particularly about his past voting in democrat primaries and his broad democratic support, he appeared to be visibly uncomfortable.”

Brendan Doherty had a fundraiser in June at Metacomet Country Club in East Providence. Said Napolitano, “Prior to the fundraiser he called several city and town chairs to invite them to the event where he had ample time to discuss issues with them at length. I find it interesting that he went out of his way to call on republican chairs to attend his fundraiser, but draws a blank on discussing why he is running for Congress and what he believes the important issues are...It is clear he doesn’t know the issues and is focusing on raising money while he prepares for the political competition.”

Bellini says he stands by his statement:

...[Doherty] has not had an opportunity to meet with the chairs individually and have a substantive discussion about his candidacy or the issues.

He had spoken on the phone with a few before his major June fundraiser to invite them and did speak very briefly at an event to simply introduce himself.

It has always been part of the plan to reach out to them and ask for their support.

This sniping, of course, is music to the ears of Democrats. But the party will have its own internecine squabble, perhaps even nastier, if Cicilline attracts Democratic challengers.

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