Mattiello and Frias Race Heats Up — Will Outside Forces Be a Factor?

Thursday, October 18, 2018

 

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Frias mailer hits Mattiello on ethics

The race in House District 15 is arguably the second most important campaign and maybe the most competitive race in Rhode Island.

It is the rematch of Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello and GOP National Committeeman Steve Frias, but the X-factor may be outside forces that are piling up against Mattiello.

Some of those groups' attacks may be so left-of-center that they could help him -- while other groups and individuals are actively trying to stay out of the race.

Most Powerful Man in Rhode Island

First, the stakes couldn’t be higher. The Speaker of the House may be the most powerful political position in the state and the battle is high stakes and high drama.

A 50 state ranking of the power of governors versus legislators ranked Rhode Island as having the weakest governorship in America.

Professor Margaret Ferguson at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis ranks Rhode Island’s governor at the weakest institutionally of all 50 states. Many in the State House and political pundits see Mattiello as the ultimate power broker.

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Mattiello is arguably "the most powerful politician" in RI

"Politics In The American States: A Comparative Analysis,” ranks the power structure of each state. Those inside the Rhode Island State House know that the Speaker — any speaker — can decide the fate of any budget priority or, at a minimum, can defeat any legislative initiative — see the PawSox.

"The campaign is going great.  I have visited thousands of homes throughout the district over the last four months and the response has been extremely positive,” said Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello in an email to GoLocal.

“People are thanking me for my leadership in eliminating the car tax and protecting their best interests in the PawSox' stadium proposal,” said Mattiello.

Outsiders Targeting Mattiello

A range of voices, however, from progressive Democrats to gun reform activists to reformers are calling for the defeat of Mattiello.

Former Democratic state legislator Linda Finn who heads the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence confirms that the group has begun targeted direct mail to District 15 — a District that voted for Donald Trump in 2016. SEE VIDEO BELOW

Former GOP candidate for governor Ken Block tells GoLocal that Mattiello must go. “Who knows who RI’s next Speaker will be? What I know for sure is that our current Speaker runs the legislature in an autocratic way, and the 75 representatives in the House give up almost all of their power to the Speaker. This is a terrible way for our government to run. I know that this Speaker single-handedly killed the line-item veto bill – something a majority of the voters of our state wants and that almost every other state already has,” said Block.

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Mattiello at a press conference in 2016 announcing major ethics reform

“It is a horrible deal to meekly accept terrible government because of fear of the unknown of what comes next. As long as the next Speaker brings democracy back to how the House operates, I am not too concerned about where on the political spectrum the Speaker lies. At the end of the day, our elected officials are supposed to represent us all. When they fail to do that, as Speaker Mattiello has clearly done, it is time to vote them out,” said Block, who has been a leading activist for the adoption of a Constitutional amendment to give the governor the power of a line-item veto.

Nate Carpenter of the RI Progressive Democrats told GoLocal why his organization is working to defeat Mattiello. “The Rhode Island Progressive Democrats would like to show respect for the Speaker’s position; however, when you have a Democrat who’s been endorsed by Right to Life and the NRA, supported and made a maximum contribution to a pro-Trump candidate, an individual who has failed to address climate change, supported the voter ID law and refuses to bring very basic legislation (which Rhode Islanders support) up for a vote we have to wonder if he’s best suited for the position,” said Carpenter.

“In addition to this, we also have to ask how the Speaker considers himself to be from the Democratic Party. In our opinion, one of the main reasons why legislation has remained stagnant is because of the immense power that the speaker holds. Rhode Islanders often fail to understand exactly how much power Speaker Mattiello has and we need to ask ourselves is this what we want?” said Carpenter.

“The next group of legislators need to understand that restricting these powers should be a major goal over the next 2 years. More important than a new progressive speaker, would be one who’s looking to change this revolving door of politics so that Rhode Island can have a group of legislators working in a well-run democracy. The speaker should represent the ideals of his or her constituents and we simply have not seen this during Speaker Mattiello’s tenure,” said Carpenter.

But while gun control advocates, reformers and progressives may be calling for Mattiello’s defeat, key influencers in Cranston say having Mattiello as the speaker is good for Cranston. GoLocal spoke with three top Republicans in Cranston who said they are trying to stay neutral in the race between Frias and Mattiello. Each of the Republicans said that worked closely with Mattiello on issues and that they had personal relationships with him.

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Mattiello's direct mail have focused on his accomplishments

While the 15th District leans conservative, organized labor may get into the race. Top leaders in the building trades were disappointed that Mattiello did not support the Senate version of the PawSox legislation. In 2016, labor supported Mattiello and supplied campaign workers and canvassers, but this cycle the building trades unions will not be supporting Mattiello -- it is unknown how active they will be in an effort to unseat him.

"So it's a two-sided coin. On the one hand, it's true that the Speaker has not allowed the most egregious portions of the progressive agenda to advance -- carbon tax, single-payer healthcare -- but disappointingly to us a number of smaller, but still significant items have worked their way through, such as paid time off, pay equity -- even though they couldn't reconcile, and energy mandates," said Mike Stenhouse who heads the Center for Freedom and Prosperity.

"We do not believe free market policies have been advanced by anyone in Rhode Island. Smaller items have been helpful -- reducing the tax on corporate energy for instance -- but those haven't changed the business climate. Frias is a proven free-market conservative -- but if the Speaker loses, would we end up with a more progressive Speaker? I'm not officially endorsing or opposing anyone. We'll work with whoever is in charge, but our focus is policy and we don't weight in on races," added Stenhouse.

Mattiello Running on His Record — Frias Hitting on Ethics

Both Mattiello and Frias are working the doors in the 15th District in Western Cranston — an area of Western Cranston that is politically conservative, leans Republican and in 2016 was decided by less than 100 votes. Frias has hammered Mattiello with negative direct-mail — the most recent claiming Mattiello is Pinocchio-like and has broken his promises.

Mattiello is running on his record. Touting his success in cutting the car tax, ethics reform and his role in the helping create a better business climate.

One big advantage continues to be money, through October 9, Frias reported $20,252.63 versus Mattiello’s $243,261.58.

 

Related Slideshow: GoLocal Statewide Poll - FULL RESULTS, Conducted by Harvard’s Della Volpe Oct. 2018

Sponsor: GoLocal Prov

Sample: N=502 Rhode Island General Election Voters

Interviewing Period: October 5 – October 9, 2018

Directed by: John Della Volpe, Harvard University, SocialSphere, Inc.

Slideshow: responses are not in the order of the questionnaire 

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Are you registered to vote in Rhode Island?

 

Yes.: 100%

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What is your gender

Male.: 45%

Female: 55%

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Where do you live?
 

Metro Providence: 28%

West Bay: 27%

Blackstone Valley: 22%

East Bay: 13%

South County: 10%

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Could you please indicate your age?

18-24: 7%

25-34: 16%

35-44: 16%

45-54: 20%

55-64: 17%

65+: 25%

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This question is about the total income of YOUR HOUSEHOLD for the PAST 12 MONTHS. Please include your income PLUS the income of all members living in your household (including cohabiting partners and armed forces members living at home).

50,000 or less: 32%

More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 18%

More $75,000 but less than $100,000: 16%

More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 14%

$150,000 or more: 11%

Don't know/Refused: 10%

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What was the last grade you completed in school?

0-11: 1%

High school grad: 17%

Technical/Vocational school: 4%

Some college: 26%

College grad: 32%

Graduate degree: 21%

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What particular ethnic group or nationality - such as English, French, Italian, Irish, Latino, Jewish, African American, and so forth - do you consider yourself a part of or feel closest to?

White, Non-Hispanic: 80%

Black or African-American: 7%

Latino or Hispanic: 6%

Other: 8%

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Which of the following best describes your current employment status?

Employed full-time: 45%

Employed part-time: 10%

Self-employed: 6%

Not employed / Homemaker: 6%

Not employed: 28%

Student: 4%

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Which one of these best describes your religious preference or spiritual outlook?

Catholic: 43%

Protestant:10%

Fundamentalist/Evangelical Christian: 4%

Jewish: 3%

Muslim: 1%

LDS/Mormon: *

Another religion: 3%

Atheist: 7%

Secular humanist: 2%

No religious preference: 21%

Not sure: 5%

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When it comes to voting, do you consider yourself to be affiliated with the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, Moderate, or Unaffiliated with a major party?

Democrat: 38%

Republican: 15%

Moderate: 6%

Unaffiliated: 39%

Don't know/Refused: 3%

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In November, there will be a statewide general election for Governor and many other state offices. How likely is it that you will vote in this election? Will you definitely be voting, will you probably be voting, are you 50-50...

Definitely be voting: 86%

Probably be voting: 14%

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Did you vote in the 2014 midterm elections?

Yes: 80%

No: 10%

I don't remember: 9%

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Did you vote in the 2016 general election for president?

Yes: 89%

No: 8%

I don't remember: 1%

I was not eligible: 2%

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For whom did you vote? 

Hillary Clinton: 48%

Donald Trump: 36%

Someone else: 14%

I do not remember: 2%
 

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What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?  [Open-Ended Response]

Jobs and economy: 21%

Taxes: 20%

Roads: 11%

Education: 8%

State budget: 6%

Corruption/Public integrity: 5%

Healthcare: 4%

Immigration: 4%

Drugs and Opioids: 3%

Entitlements: 3%

Housing: 2%

Governor: 2%

Homelessness:1%

Don’t Know: 7%

Other: 5%            

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In general, would you say things in Rhode Island are headed in the right direction or are they off on the wrong track?

Right track: 19%

Wrong track: 38%

Mixed: 43%

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Which of the following comes closest to your view regarding each of the following candidates for governor of Rhode Island? [RANDOMIZED]

Gina Raimondo, a Democrat

I am sure to vote for her: 18%

There is a good chance I will vote for her: 20%

It is possible that I vote for her: 17%

It is unlikely that I will vote for her: 13%

I will never vote for her: 32%

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Which of the following comes closest to your view regarding each of the following candidates for governor of Rhode Island? [RANDOMIZED]

Allan Fung, a Republican

I am sure to vote for him: 15%

There is a good chance I will vote for him: 13%

It is possible that I vote for him: 23%

It is unlikely that I will vote for him: 20%

I will never vote for him: 29%

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Which of the following comes closest to your view regarding each of the following candidates for governor of Rhode Island? [RANDOMIZED]

Joe Trillo, an Independent

I am sure to vote for him: 3%

There is a good chance I will vote for him: 6%

It is possible that I vote for him: 31%

It is unlikely that I will vote for him: 30%

I will never vote for him: 30%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Has a vision for the state.

Allan Fung: 25%

Gina Raimondo: 31%

Joe Trillo: 11%

None: 12%

Don't know: 22%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Will ensure that we have high-quality affordable health care. 

Allan Fung: 13%

Gina Raimondo: 28%

Joe Trillo: 11%

None: 17%

Don't know: 31%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Cares about people like me.

Allan Fung: 23%

Gina Raimondo: 25%

Joe Trillo: 14%

None: 19%

Don't know: 19%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Will make government more accountable to the people.

Allan Fung: 21%

Gina Raimondo: 24%

Joe Trillo: 12%

None: 19%

Don't know: 24%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Will stand up to special interests.

Allan Fung: 17%

Gina Raimondo: 21%

Joe Trillo: 17%

None: 19%

Don't know: 25%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Is committed to improving education in public schools.

Allan Fung: 21%

Gina Raimondo: 43%

Joe Trillo: 6%

None: 9%

Don't know: 21%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Is a fighter for the middle class.

Allan Fung: 22%

Gina Raimondo: 27%

Joe Trillo: 15%

None: 16%

Don't know: 19%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Is honest and trustworthy.

Allan Fung: 19%

Gina Raimondo: 25%

Joe Trillo: 9%

None: 23%

Don't know: 25%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Will hold the line on taxes.

Allan Fung: 24%

Gina Raimondo: 19%

Joe Trillo: 13%

None: 19%

Don't know: 25%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Is fiscally responsible.

Allan Fung: 28%

Gina Raimondo: 29%

Joe Trillo: 10%

None: 12%

Don't know: 21%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Brings fresh ideas and perspectives.

Allan Fung: 23%

Gina Raimondo: 25%

Joe Trillo: 15%

None: 17%

Don't know: 19%

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If the election for Governor were held today and the candidates were: [ROTATE] Democrat Gina Raimondo, Republican Allan Fung and Independent Joe Trillo, for whom would you vote?

Gina Raimondo, a Democrat: 40%

Allan Fung, a Republican: 32%

Joe Trillo, an Independent: 17%

Don't know: 11%

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Attorney generals in several states have begun investigating sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy, opening investigations and issuing subpoenas for documents.

Do you favor or oppose the Rhode Island Attorney General opening an investigation into the Archdiocese of Providence on issues related to possible sexual abuse of children?

Net: Support: 89%

Strongly Support: 61%

Somewhat Support: 27%

Net: Oppose: 7%

Somewhat Oppose: 5%

Strongly Oppose: 3%


Don't Know    4%

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If the election for the U.S. Senate were held today and the candidates were: [ROTATE] Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse and Republican Robert Flanders, for whom would you vote?

 

Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat: 56%

Robert Flanders, a Republican: 32%

Don't know    12%

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Recently, it was announced that state officials approved a fast-track regulatory review of Massachusetts based Partners HealthCare’s proposed takeover of Care New England, Rhode Island’s second-largest hospital system, and operator Women & Infants, Butler and Kent Hospitals. [RANDOMIZED]

Do you believe the quality of care for Rhode Islanders will:

Improve: 21%

Worsen: 19%

Stay about the same: 44%

Don't know: 16%

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Recently, it was announced that state officials approved a fast-track regulatory review of Massachusetts based Partners HealthCare’s proposed takeover of Care New England, Rhode Island’s second-largest hospital system, and operator Women & Infants, Butler and Kent Hospitals. [RANDOMIZED]

Do you believe the number of jobs available to Rhode Islanders will:

Increase: 22%

Decrease: 27%

Stay about the same: 38%

Don't know    13%

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The City of Providence and the state of Rhode Island are considering a proposal by New York

developer Jason Fane to build a 46-story luxury residence tower in Providence, next to a public

riverfront park.  The developer will invest $250 to $300 million of his own funds.  The project is

called the Hope Point Tower, it would be 170-feet taller than the Superman building and would

require waiving height restrictions and the use of state tax credits.

Net: Favor: 39%

Strongly favor: 15%

Somewhat favor: 23%

Net: Oppose: 52%

Somewhat oppose: 26%

Strongly oppose: 26%

Don't know:10%

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Earlier this year, legislation was filed in the General Assembly that would require that all Rhode Island public schools have a school resource officer on the premises -- if a school has over 1,200 students -- two school resource officers would need to be present.

Net: Support: 68%

Strongly Support: 37%

Somewhat Support: 32%

Net: Oppose: 25%

Somewhat Oppose: 14%

Strongly Oppose: 10%

Don't Know: 7%

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Do you support or oppose expanding Rhode Island’s free college tuition program at the

Community College of Rhode Island to the state’s two four-year colleges so that the last two

years of tuition at Rhode Island College and URI would be free for those recent high school

graduates, who are in a solid academic standing, and on track to graduate in four years? It is estimated that the cost of the program would be $35 million.

Net: Support: 55%

Strongly Support: 29%

Somewhat Support: 25%

Net: Oppose: 40%

Somewhat Oppose: 17%

Strongly Oppose: 24%

Don't Know: 5%

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Do you support or oppose an Educational Bill of Rights for students and parents in Rhode Island that includes:

1) The right to be taught by effective teachers.

2) The right not to be taught by teachers who, after due process evaluation, fail to meet standards established by state and local education officials.

3) The right to appropriate academic materials and resources.

4) The right to safe, clean and environmental-friendly school facilities.

5) The right to emotionally supportive schools that do not tolerate harassment, discrimination or abuse.

6) The right to attend a school where funding is based on student need with the goal of providing

access to adequate educational opportunities.

7) The right to a pathway out of a failing school.

8) The right to a fair, accurate and transparent assessment system that measures student

performance and need.

9) The right of parents to current and reliable information about their child’s progress and performance.

Net: Support: 84%

Strongly Support: 51%

Somewhat Support: 33%

Net: Oppose: 9%

Somewhat Oppose: 7%

Strongly Oppose: 2%


Don't Know: 7%

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Recently, Governor Gina Raimondo has been criticized for accepting $12,500 in campaign and

PAC contributions from members of the Sackler family. Owners of Purdue Pharma, the Sackler

family has been profiled in multiple national news outlets for fueling the US opioid addiction epidemic, through its painkiller OxyContin.

The Financial Times has also reported that the family also owns Rhodes Pharma, Rhode Island-

based drug maker that is among the largest producers of off-patent generic opioids in the US.

If Governor Gina Raimondo asked you for advice on this – would you suggest that she …

Return the money: 71%

Keep the money: 15%

Don't know: 14%

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In terms of the number of women who face sexual harassment in the workplace – would you say that sexual harassment in Rhode Island is a …

Major problem: 35%

Minor problem: 36%

Not a problem    7%

Don't know    22%

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Which party do you believe is most responsible for the Providence school bus strike?

Teamsters Local 251: 31%

The bus company: 21%

Mayor Jorge Elorza: 19%

Don't know: 29%

 
 

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