Businessman Anthony Gemma announced he's jumping into the Democratic Primary against Congressman David Cicilline. Gemma told a hundred of his supporters in Providence Sunday he's their only chance to keep the First Congressional seat democratic.
He wasn't shy about touting his qualifications for the job but ran away when reporters tried to ask him questions.
His speech lasted about 15 minutes. He talked about leadership, creating jobs, and cheaper college education, but when it came time for the end of that six page speech he didn't want to answer any of our questions about how he he's going to make that all happen.
He said he'd deal with us later and took off in his SUV. He did make time for some meet and greets with the hundred or so supporters at Prospect Park as he made it official. He's jumping into the democratic primary race for U.S. Congress against incumbent Congressman David Cicilline.
"Are you ready to go back to work, Rhode Island," said Gemma in his speech. It'll be a re-match for the two. Cicilline beat Gemma in 2010, but now Congressman Cicilline's poll numbers are dipping into the teens and he's being criticized for hiding Providence's financial crisis. So Gemma said he's the only option to keep the House of Representatives seat democratic.
"The numbers don't lie," said Gemma, "In the general election, I am the only democrat who can and will beat Brendan Doherty.
Gemma didn't mention Cicilline by name but criticized republican candidate Brendan Doherty for retiring as soon as he could to collect his state police pension.
"I urge you to pay close attention to Brendan Doherty," said Gemma, "To say his grasp of economic realities is weak would be the understatement of the year."
Doherty issued a statement saying, "He's the only candidate with a proven track record of leadership and the character necessary to restore economic growth."
Economic growth is what former Providence Mayor John Lombardi said we need, well that and transparency.
He was at Gemma's event listening to what he had to say and was a little surprised the candidate wouldn't answer our questions.
"Again, we need full disclosure and openness and that's, I think, one of the themes of his opening speech tonight," said Lombardi.
Gemma's people did tell us he'd be available for one on one interviews...but not Sunday.
Congressman Cicilline's people couldn't be reached Sunday.