The Primaries from Motif’s Data Nerd

1. Providence Mayor – Democrat

Ordinarily the Democratic primary IS the election, because no Republican has been elected as Providence mayor since 1978 – the final time Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci, Jr., ran as a Republican, before winning re-election as an independent in 1982. The general election is expected to be a three-way contest between Cianci running as an independent, Daniel S. Harrop as the Republican, and the eventual winner of a four-way race among Democrats Jorge O. Elorza, Brett Peter Smiley, Michael A. Solomon and Christopher F. Young.

As of June 30 filings with the Board of Elections, the Democrats are strongly distinguished by the size of their campaign fund cash availability: Solomon $662,446.97 (including $297,000 lent by the candidate), Smiley $289,521.87 (including $26,014.45 lent by the candidate), and Elorza $283,251.70 (including $77,960.08 lent by the candidate). The most recent data from Young is from a previous campaign in 2010.


Whoever wins the Democratic primary may have to take on Cianci’s insurmountable name recognition with a nasty and negative campaign informing voters about his felony convictions in 1984 for assault with a lit cigarette and a fireplace log and then in 2002 for racketeering conspiracy.

2. Rhode Island Governor – Democrat

Although there are four candidates qualified for the ballot – Todd Joseph Giroux, H. Claiborne “Clay” Pell, Gina Raimondo, and Angel Taveras – Giroux is so severely underfunded that he is not a serious contender; as of his June 30 filings his campaign fund owed him more than it had in cash.

The race is genuinely competitive, with both Raimondo and Taveras within polling distance of victory with around 30% each and Pell clearly running third but not out of the range of possibility with as much as 15%. The real take-away from this is that polls consistently show about 25% of voters undecided, which means anything could happen.

Pell’s campaign fund reported $3,093,237.51, of which $3,077,050 – nearly all – was lent by the candidate. Raimondo reported $4,092,881.97, none of it lent by the candidate. Taveras reported $1,776,401.03, only $450 lent by the candidate. Given the enormous disparity in funding favoring Raimondo, it’s impressive that Taveras is competing as strongly as he is.

3. Rhode Island Governor – Republican

Ken Block, former head of the Moderate Party, and Allan Fung, mayor of Cranston, at this point are struggling to prevent the electorate from tuning them out. Fung’s strange campaign literature ridiculing voters as “Blockheads” probably lost more than it gained. Block, on the other hand, is reviled by many in the Republican Party for what was seen as a destructive third-party effort.

Fung’s campaign reports $582,764.45, of which $40,250 was lent by the candidate. Block’s campaign reports $821,303.64, of which $1,168,439 was lent by the candidate – a negative balance.

Given the relatively small number of likely Republican voters, no polling data appears reliable.