Dee from the Desk: GOP losing sight - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Dee from the Desk: GOP losing sight

Dee from the Desk: GOP losing sight

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With the Allan Fung and Ken Block race getting so heated and down right personal a lot of individuals in the Republican Party have lost their long term vision and have become as near sighted as the next attack on the candidate they oppose.  It's no longer about who will win in November, it has come down to who will win in September.

The primary has torn the party apart and has made enemies out of friends. Recently, the animosity built up from the Republican Primary reared its ugly head in the election of the new National Committeewoman. The committeewoman position became vacant at the passing of Carol Mumford in July.

Three candidates, Lynda Adams Robitaille, Barbara Holmes, and Lee Ann Sennick stepped up to run for the position. Some where in the mix of things accusations began flying and people in the party began pointing the finger at Robitaille accusing her of re-affiliating as a Republican on the day of Carol Mumford's funeral. (This is a rumor that hasn't been proven but even if Robitaille said it was true it is unclear how it would affect her ability to be a committeewoman.)

Robitaille's husband, John Robitaille has been a strong supporter of the Republican Party since before he ran for governor in 2010. Even after the election Robitaille stayed engaged and he and his wife headed the Romney Campaign in Rhode Island in 2012.

Nonetheless, the accusations began flying and things started to get personal inside the party with supporters (not even the women themselves) of the women lobbing accusations at the others. As a result Lynda Robitaille announced she no longer seeks the nomination and her husband John Robitaille resigned his delegate position within the party.

Robitaille leaving the mainstream party shows how bad things have gotten. The infighting has literally come to the point that one of the most popular Republicans has decided to call it quits with the party. There is no doubt that he is still a registered Republican but he has had it with the fighting within the party.

Republicans have lost sight of the point of this election for them; to get another Republican elected to the governor's office.

At this point it looks like the winner of the primary will face off against General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, although that is all subject to change since all three candidates are now within ten points of each other. With that said Republicans need to focus on making their candidates electable against the Democrats, not electable within the Republican Party.

In a race against Raimondo, Allan Fung will have the advantage of attracting public safety unions, (can see it now, “Firefighters for Fung”).  Fung plays better to the center as a candidate than Block does. Fung will be able to attract some Democrats who don't support Raimondo as well as independents not thrilled by her either. Fung will probably lose some Republicans to Raimondo as a result of this primary but ultimately he will be able to attract more votes from union members than Block can. Fung will also benefit from the fact that he is Asian and from an immigrant family. Statewide other minority groups may feel more comfortable voting for a candidate that they can relate to such as Fung.

Meanwhile Block has the advantage of money. While Fung struggles with financing his campaign, Block has personal wealth and will be able to contend with Raimondo's well funded campaign. Block will be able to put a stronger paid staff in place prior to the primary and be able to build his team up for the General Election. Fung does not have that luxury because he needs to save his money until after the primary.

Although, after the primary if the Republican candidate looks electable, national money may come in from places like the National Republican Governors Association. Fung could benefit from Asian groups looking to see an Asian American become Governor.

Block would struggle when it comes to attracting voters from the left. He has spent the last several months trying to prove himself as a Republican and playing to the right so much that he now has built himself up publicly to sound pretty conservative. He still remains socially liberal which will play well for him but any Democrat running against him will be able to use his remarks in this primary to make him look like a “radical Republican.” We know Block is not a radical but if the Democrats could paint former congressional candidate Brendan Doherty as a radical they will have no trouble doing the same to Block. Block can try to play his “it's about ideas and not parties card” but with the damage the primary has caused to his candidacy it is unclear how well that will work. Fung suffers from this problem less because he has his record as mayor to go on, so he can prove he is not a so-called radical by pointing to specific actions he has taken. Block, a private business man does not have this luxury but he can point  the fact he was a moderate in 2010 and say that his views are in line with most of the more moderate Rhode Islanders. 

Block will likely suffer the same loss in the Republican Party as Fung with Fung supporters voting for Raimondo because they are now bitter following the primary.

There is little to no chance that the party will reunify by the time of the General Election especially with John Robitaille stepping out of the mainstream party. That said, Republicans need to start looking outside their little party and looking into the outside work of Independents and Democrats. How can they make their candidates be electable statewide?

Republicans forget, in the end the result of their little primary doesn't matter. It is all about the result of the General Election and at this point their “eat our own” attitude is not going to help either candidate in a statewide race. Maybe the Republicans all need a time out and a chance to reconsider their game plan here because right now they are handing the election to the Democrats.

Follow me on Twitter @deedequattro

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