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  • September 20, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    The battle between Democratic Congressman David Cicilline and Republican Brendan Doherty has focused squarely, in recent days, on dueling polls.

    But much of the chatter about those polls is misguided. I'll get to that shortly. First, the basics on the survey.

    The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the House Democrats' campaign wing, has commissioned two polls in Rhode Island's First Congressional District recent weeks - one a bare-bones, robo-call survey and the other a more sophisticated poll.

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  • September 20, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    This morning brought a third Democratic poll giving Congressman David Cicilline a significant lead on Republican Brendan Doherty.

    This one, from Cicilline's pollster the Feldman Group, gives the incumbent a 46-36 lead on his GOP challenger, with 7 percent backing independent candidate David Vogel.

    Doherty has declined to release his own internal polling.

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  • September 12, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty is laying out a sharp attack on Congressman David Cicilline this morning, detailing what he says are the incumbent's 10 biggest lies.

    But he's also playing some defense - suggesting Cicilline has distorted his position on Medicare and Social Security. And his central talking point - invoking his mom - is straight out of the GOP playbook.

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  • September 11, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Women voters may determine the race for Congressman David Cicilline's seat. Republican challenger Brendan Doherty seems to have a firm grasp on that reality. Here's his sharp new appeal to women - just an Internet ad for now, Doherty campaign manager Ian Prior tells me, but it could be converted to a television spot. That decision hasn't been made.

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  • September 06, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    A couple of years ago, it would've been hard to imagine a prominent Rhode Island Democrat placing a premium on a Patrick Kennedy endorsement. Former Congressman Kennedy, however effective at bringing federal largesse to Rhode Island, was not terribly popular at home.

    But Democrats, of course, have a better opinion of Kennedy than the general electorate.

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  • September 04, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    No, I'm not talking about Clint Eastwood's Dada performance at the Republican National Convention last week.

    I speak, instead, of a debate scheduled Thursday night that will pit Congressman David Cicilline against his Democratic primary challengers - businessman Anthony Gemma and perennial fringe candidate Chris Young.

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  • September 03, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Here it is. A nice little piece of inoculation for an incumbent who will, inevitably, suffer from the poor economy.

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  • August 31, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Democratic Congressional candidate Anthony Gemma's accusations of voter fraud by incumbent Congressman David Cicilline have been met with a great deal of skepticism by the Rhode Island media and the state's political elite. He's done little to substantiate them, after all.

    The appearance yesterday, on talk radio, of the woman he'd claimed was holed up in her attic with a weapon - so scared of the Cicilline machine - probably didn't help his case.

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  • August 29, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    R. Jay Magill, author of Sincerity: How a moral ideal born five hundred years ago inspired religious wars, modern art, hipster chic, and the curious notion that we all have something to say (no matter how dull), argues that the American fixation on sincerity in politics is wrongheaded.

    Politics, after all, is about dodge and artifice and posturing.

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  • August 28, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Here it is.

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  • August 28, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Last night, after WPRI-TV released the first portion of its poll on the Democratic primary pitting Congressman David Cicilline against businessman Anthony Gemma, I took a stab at what the poll - which gave Cicilline a comfortable 12-point lead on Gemma - might say about a Cicilline race against Republican Brendan Doherty in November.

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  • August 27, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    A new WPRI poll gives Congressman David Cicilline a 43-31 lead on his Democratic primary challenger Anthony Gemma. The poll was taken mostly before Gemma's big news conference last week leveling voter fraud charges against the Cicilline camp, so it's possible things have shifted. But if the numbers hold and Cicilline cruises to victory, there are a couple of takeaways here to keep in mind for the general election

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  • August 27, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Former Rhode Island State Representative David Segal, now executive director of civil liberties and government reform group Demand Progress, is in the thick of a push to get the Republican and Democratic parties to make Internet freedom a plank in their official platforms.

    Demand Progress was a key player in the Internet revolt that killed the SOPA and PIPA bills, which were designed to clamp down on Internet piracy of movies, music, and pharmaceuticals.

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  • August 24, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    The Providence Journal has a front-page story today on legislation, passed last year, that makes it easier to cast an absentee ballot. A voter no longer has to attest to extenuating circumstances - no longer has to swear, for instance, that he'll be hospitalized on election day - to get a mail-in ballot. Rather, he can simply say he "may not be able to vote" at his regular polling place on election day.

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  • August 23, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    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.

    Read More

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