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Governor's Race: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

If there was any doubt that the economy will consume the looming governor's race, one need look no further than Lincoln Chafee's latest fundraising appeal:

Are you as concerned about the future of our state as I am?  Looming budget deficits, high unemployment rates and lagging economic indicators – it does not have to be this way.  Rhode Island has faced challenges before and together we have overcome them.   We cannot let partisan politics continue to drive our state toward the bottom of national rankings. This is a central reason why I am exploring a run for governor as an independent candidate. I have a proven record of strong leadership in difficult times both as Mayor of Warwick and as your U.S. Senator. I will bring to the governor’s office a determination to put our state on a steady course of progress through hard work and with high ethical standards.  We should have our governor, general assembly members and the leaders of the state’s business and labor communities focused on our shared goal of putting Rhode Islanders back to work.

But the question is, which candidate will be best positioned to convince voters that he can lead the state out of the morass? Chafee appears to be banking on his independent candidacy as a way to break through a politics-as-usual that has not served the state well. Attorney General Patrick Lynch is touting his sense of urgency. And Treasurer Frank Caprio will push his financial background.

Caprio's argument is the most direct. And his opponents, when this thing heats up, will have to find a way to poke holes in it. They could go after a decline in the state's pension investments under Caprio's watch. We'll see if the voters bite, or just chalk it up to the broader economic crash.

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