ARLENE VIOLET - Statewide politics heating up

ARLENE VIOLET - Statewide politics heating up

First came the news that the statewide Democratic Party endorsement went to a Trump-loving former Republican male over a female incumbent (later reversed). Searching through the local endorsements revealed that some female officeholders were also dissed with the endorsement given to males instead. Now comes the news that Leo Skenyon, a top aide to House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, called Republican gubernatorial challenger Patricia Morgan in order to encourage her to attack incumbent Gov. Gina Raimondo. According to House Republican leader Morgan, Skenyon urged her to attack the governor on her “worthless” executive order regarding guns held by dangerous people. The challenger did not bite. She told the Providence Journal that Skenyon called her twice in an attempt to have her show her fangs as a favor to the speaker. He also wanted Morgan to attack the governor for arranging a secret fundraising agreement between her and the Providence Democratic City Committee, thereby sidestepping the state Democratic Committee. Matteillo was irked since he effectively controls the coffers of the state committee.

It wasn’t the finest hour for Skenyon, who denied calling Ms. Morgan. He ended up looking like the kid who stole the chocolate chip cookies out of the cookie jar with chocolate all over his face because Republican Morgan was able to produce a phone record. Speaker Mattiello looks petty as well.

If the Democrats are trying to ignite a gender war within their own party this is precisely how to do it. Legislation that touched so-called women issues like abortion rights went nowhere in the General Assembly. Misogyny seems to be the rule of the day. In any event the aforesaid actions give grist for the mill to the Progressive Democrats.

• Speaking of being a little late to the party with an early exit, Bishop Thomas Tobin recently said he was canceling his Twitter account since it was an occasion of sin. If only he would elaborate!

• With the primary only weeks away, Gov. Raimondo’s campaign spots are running non-stop. Some of them are pretty effective. Her approval rating went up four points but the jump still pales in comparison to her 46 percent disapproval rating according to one poll. Her Democratic challengers have been muted since they have far less money to spend. Former state Rep. Joe Trillo got some “free” advertising by unfurling a political banner along the beaches as he zoomed by in a boat and was entangled in a sign fight in Narragansett where local officials are telling him the sign is too big and is being displayed too early in the election cycle. In the long run, he probably benefited from both actions with his name recognition skyrocketing. Mayor Allan Fung is still keeping his silence in both paid and unpaid media. He was asked to comment on the governor’s higher education proposals but he kept his lips zipped. Perhaps the only one challenger who is getting news coverage is Republican Morgan.

Political ads are just around the corner, no doubt, so while I have been happy with the slow pace of advertising, all of that is going to end soon. Hopefully, the ads won’t reek of the rancor that has this country in its grip.

Violet is an attorney and former state attorney general.


Other countries, UK for one, limit CAMPAIGN time and SPENDING limits during elections.

In the US campaign donations are regulated but not campaign SPENDING.

In some states, counties and other countries CAMPAIGNING time is directly limited (CAMPAIGN season limited to one month prior to elections) and indirectly limited by regulations on sign sizes and placements, etc.

With our never ending campaigning and money raising endeavors by politicians isn't it time that CAMPAIGNING season and SPENDING be regulated and limited? If no other reason than to protect all citizens from the constant barrage of social media ads, robot calls, junk mail, hyperventilate newscasts, signs and biased networks?

I'm sure social media and TV networks wouldn't like Campaign or Spending limits since they make big profits from the ads they sell, which of course creates incentive to stir the pot in order to sell more air time and print space.