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The GOP's curious response to Gemmapalooza

It's been nine months since Ken McKay, the bomb-throwing happy warrior, stepped down as chairman of the Rhode Island Republican Party to take a job with Senator Ron Johnson, the conservative Wisconsin Republican.

The party is missing him, it seems.

Democratic Congressional candidate Anthony Gemma's press conference yesterday was problematic, to say the least. He failed to substantiate his tantalizing claim that Democratic Congressman David Cicilline has engaged in systematic voter fraud and the backlash from the media and Democratic elite was swift.

What's curious is the backlash - OK, that's a little strong - from the GOP.

Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty played it about right, declining to fully endorse Gemma's charges but suggesting they put a "cloud of suspicion" over the electoral process and require "an immediate, clear and truthful response" from Cicilline

But Daniel Harrop, Cicilline's GOP opponent in the 2006 Providence mayoral contest, called the accusations "preposterous" and suggested Gemma is "nuts." And the official GOP press release noted, in the headline, that the party had a "muted" response.

I get that the Republican Party has to be a little careful, here. It can't wrap its arms around Gemma, who has a reputation for histrionics.

But why actively downplay the story? Something tells me Ken McKay would've had a different response.

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