Blogs | Ethan Shorey

GOP leaders joust over endorsement process

The early inner workings of the Republican primary battle between gubernatorial candidates Allan Fung and Ken Block hit the public eye during a Jan. 7 discussion on Twitter.

Scott Rotondo, head of the Pawtucket GOP, started it off by inviting The Breeze to a Jan. 14 meeting where he said Block will be addressing the local group. I asked Rotondo whether the city’s GOP has endorsed Block or Fung, and he said that the decision will be made following Block’s presentation.

Rotondo then said that he personally is endorsing Fung based on the candidate’s “proven ability to win elections as a Republican” and his “ability to get along with folks across the aisle.” He said members of the Pawtucket GOP “loved” Fung when the Cranston mayor visited last summer.

The scorecard of support from GOP committee leaders across the state was 23-3 in favor of Fung as of Jan. 7, claimed Rotondo. Michael Napolitano, chairman of the Lincoln Republican Town Committee and newly minted director of operations for the Block campaign, then disputed Rotondo’s blowout number, but when asked for his own tally, he said in a tweet that was “not ready to divulge” that information.

Said Napolitano, “it’s far too early for committee endorsements. They are done in June-July.”

Rotondo responded (with an LOL) that Pawtucket is leading the way on endorsements.

Shortly after, Fung and campaign aide Patrick Sweeney, former executive director of the Rhode Island GOP, announced that the Cranston Republican City Committee had just unanimously endorsed Fung’s candidacy for governor.

Napolitano did not respond to a question about whether the Block campaign was aware that the Pawtucket GOP would be issuing its endorsement following the candidate’s hour-long presentation next Tuesday.

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