I've got a cover story in this week's Phoenix about Congressman David Cicilline's push to woo women voters in this fall's elections.
The more I reported the story, the more I became convinced that this is the ballgame: win the women's vote by a good margin and Cicilline goes back to Congress. Fail and he goes home.
Anyhow, one element that didn't get in the story is this: the role of a newly invigorated ground game for the Rhode Island women's movement.
Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty has worked hard to carve out a reputation as a moderate above party; a man disgusted with Washington's partisan gridlock.
That kind of image is vital, of course, if a GOPer is to win election in a blue state. Hence, one of the strategic imperatives of the Democratic nominee: make Doherty a Republican.
Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, in town for Netroots Nation, will headline a fundraiser tomorrow night for Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island (PPVRI), the organization's local voter education initiative.
PPVRI, a 501(c)(4) organization, cannot expressly advocate for one candidate over another.
Congressman David Cicilline is making women's issues a central plank in his re-election fight. His most recent foray: a fundraising appeal that calls out Senate Republicans for blocking the Paycheck Fairness Act, which aims to combat the pay disaprity between men and women.
It’s the 21st Century but women
in this country still make an average of 77 cents to every dollar men make, so I
was deeply disappointed to see the Paycheck Fairness Act fail in the Senate
Democratic Congressional candidate Anthony Gemma is touting punditry out of DC publications Roll Call and The Hill suggesting he'd be a better candidate in a general election match-up with Republican Brendan Doherty than incumbent Congressman David Cicilline.
But would he really be a lock come November?
Gemma would, no doubt, have one significant advantage: he's doesn't come with the incumbent's heavy baggage.
Congressman David Cicilline, as you may have read, has helped Pawtucket World War II veteran Leo Beland get a long overdue Bronze Star. And it's not hard to imagine the campaign staff buffing that star, at this very moment, for Ciclline's first ad.
Think of it: the story is perfectly tailored for the middle-of-the-road, tradiitonal Democrats most pissed off at Cicilline at the moment.
Today's announcement of a deal that has tax-exempt Brown University offering the cash-strapped city of Providence an additional $31.5 million in payments over the next 11 years is a big win for Mayor Angel Taveras, as he moves closer to averting bankruptcy.
But Congressman David Cicilline is undoubtedly feeling good this morning, too.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse got all kinds of attention for his "Buffett Rule" push, calling on the wealthy to "pay their fair share." Meanwhile, on Smith Hill, the General Assembly seems all but certain to kill legislation that would raise taxes on the rich.
Indeed, the body just got through lowering them last session.
One of Congressman David Cicilline's central challenges - as policymaker and politician facing a tough re-election fight - is his relatively powerless position as a freshman in the minority party. He will not be able to go to voters, in the coming months, with a lengthy list of accomplishments.
But that hasn't stopped him from attaching himself to several hot-button issues in his first year-plus in office.
Newly minted Democratic Congressional candidate Anthony Gemma came out of the gate this weekend hammering GOP rival Brendan Doherty, former superintendent of the state police. He said Doherty has been living "in a bubble" as a public servant and retired as soon as he could collect a pension.
Calling into question the integrity of a widely respected cop seems an odd way to endear himself to the moderate, middle-of-the-road voter he'll need in his Democratic primary challenge to David Cicilline and, should he prevail there, his general election contest against Doherty.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse's Buffett Rule legislation takes center stage in American politics today, with the Senate expected to vote on the measure tonight.
But it's not the only tax measure Congress will take up with Tax Day approaching. The GOP-controlled House will consider a measure, sponsored by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, that would hand a 20 percent tax deduction to businesses employing fewer than 500 people.
Further evidence that the race for Congressman David Cicilline's seat is ramping up: GOP rival Brendan Doherty has called on Cicilline to denounce the comments of Hillary Rosen, a Democratic operative who has donated to the Congressman's campaign and recently criticized Mitt Romney's wife Ann - saying she has "never worked a day in her life" and doesn't understand the struggles of average women.
Republican Senate candidate Barry Hinckley has released his latest video attacking Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. It uses some footage from a recent WPRI-TV interview, in which he decries the influence of Super PACs and special interests on American politics. Whitehouse, the video suggests, is being a hypocrite, given that he has taken donations from PACs and special interests.
If you haven't seen it, here's Cicilline spokeswoman Nicole Kayner's response to Doherty on the apologia:
"David Cicilline has accepted responsibility for decisions he made, including
the decision to avoid a tax increase during a recession. He explained that he
had been hopeful that the Carcieri administration would accept its
responsibility to the cities and towns of the district rather than cut $40
million from the Providence budget.
GOP Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty has released a sharply worded press release in the wake of Congressman David Cicilline's apology for telling voters in the heat of the 2010 political campaign that Providence, where he was serving as mayor, was in "excellent" fiscal condition.
Doherty points to a Providence auditor's report produced in April 2011 to argue that Cicilline was engaged in an "active concealment" of the city's budget problems that he has still failed to acknowledge.