So says my hardly-ever-wrong New England political guru. Channeling Casablanca, when Rick asks, “Have you tried 22 tonight? I said 22.” — Well, that’s where you put the chips. “22″ here is Rhode Island CD-1, the seat held by the retiring Patrick Kennedy (as you will recall, he reacted to Scott Brown’s Senate triumph by announcing he would not seek reelection). Yesterday (October 22!), a new survey was released showing Republican state representative John Loughlin, a conservative, arguably leading the Democrat erstwhile favorite, Providence mayor David Cicilline. The NRCC poll shows Loughlin obliterating previous surveys (where he always trailed by double digits), and holding a four-point lead among “most likely” voters:
The National Republican Congressional Committee released internal polling Friday afternoon that showed the race between Providence Mayor David Cicilline and state Rep. John Loughlin effectively tied.
Many believed that Cicilline would have a relatively easy victory in the heavily Democratic Ocean State. But the Public Opinion Strategies poll found that the mayor has high negatives and earns just 41 percent support among 300 likely voters surveyed Oct. 20-21. Loughlin also earned 41 percent in the poll that had a 5.6-point margin of error.
Among those most likely to vote, Loughlin was ahead 45 percent to 41 percent, according to pollster Gene Ulm, who said the margin of error for this groups exceeds 6 points.
How bad is it for Providence’s scandal-tarred mayor? On Monday President Obama is coming to Woonsocket to campaign for Cicilline, and then visiting East End to headline a hoity-toity $7,500-a-plate fundraiser. I take that as good news: An Obama drop-in seems increasingly like a candidate’s death watch (Martha Coakley!) than a base-rallier. And if POTUS has to make an 11th-hour effort in what is arguably the most Democrat state in the union, well, November 2nd may well be Armageddon.
BTW, offsetting the Obama mercy mission is a Little Rhody visit by neighbor Scott Brown, who will spend much of Monday campaigning with Loughlin.
About whom: He is an Eagle Scout, a retired Army lieutenant colonel helicopter pilot, and a three-term state representative from Tiverton. Check out the video below: Loughlin comes off as likeable, personable, articulate, and conservative. His message: cut taxes and empower risk-takers and entrepreneurs to create much-needed jobs. It’s well-done:
And with Providence being a “sanctuary city,” also big on Loughlin’s agenda is illegal immigration (video here).
Now, about Cicilline: He is a piece of work, but has gotten a couple of much-needed black eyes in recent weeks. Last week, Loughlin, pushing a wheelbarrow filled with $20,000, held a press conference attacking the mayor, who, in violation of city law, took in that amount in excessive pay since 2006.
Meanwhile: The local ABC affiliate is reporting that Cicilline’s top aides received mucho extra vacation time, in violation of city ordinances, costing Providence hundreds of thousands of dollars. Video here.
And: WPRI-TV reported last night that the city auditor has issued a report claiming that millions in municipal reserve funds have been misappropriated, while pension contributions are in arrears. Video here.
Oh yeah: The Providence Journalreported last year that an investigation by the accounting firm KMPG
. . . explored four instances in the past two years in which City Tax Collector Robert P. Ceprano alleges that the mayor’s aides pressured him to perform tax favors for friends and/or campaign contributors of the mayor’s.
Mayor Cicilline acknowledged “advocating” for those taxpayers, not because he knew them or they contributed to his campaigns but “based upon what he determined to be either a mistake by the city, or an ‘honest’ mistake on the part of the taxpayer,” the report said.
Part of this byzantine story includes how the Cicilline’s now-incarcerated lawyer/brother passed bad checks to cover delinquent taxpayers facing home foreclosures — seemingly with the knowledge of his mayoral brother.
Enough! With nine days left, there’s still a lot of time for the cemetery vote to come in, but Loughlin can pull this off. If you want to help him, donate here.