2018 Governor’s Race Playbook - Will Democrats Buy Sinclair? May 14, 2018

Monday, May 14, 2018
GoLocalProv Political Team

Will Democratic candidates for governor buy ads on ultra-conservative Sinclair Broadcasting's Providence affiliate?

Governor Gina Raimondo's campaign said Sunday night she is likely to send dollars over to the controversial conservative media group.

But, one of her top Democratic challengers -- Matt Brown -- refused to answer if they will spend on Sinclair’s WJAR. Brown, who is claiming to be running to the left of Raimondo, would not comment.

"We haven't finalized the plan but I would imagine NBC10 will be included," said David Ortiz, spokesperson for the Raimondo campaign.

SEE THE WINS, LOSES, AND X-FACTORS OF THE WEEK BELOW

Democrats across the country have ripped Sinclair Broadcasting for its strong pro-Trump news promotions, its close ties to the Trump administration, and the implications of Sinclair’s purchase of Tribune’s TV stations.

In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), RI’s Democratic Congressman David Cicilline called on the agency to block the $3.9 billion merger between Sinclair and Tribune. He cited, “In one case, Sinclair provided scripts to local station anchors asking, "Did the FBI have a personal vendetta in pursuing the Russian investigation against President Trump's former national security advisor Michael Flynn?"

"Sinclair provides stations with so-called 'must-run' segments that include video op-eds from Sinclair executive Mark Hyman and political analyst Boris Epshteyn. Epshteyn, who joined Sinclair in April, was a senior adviser to Trump's presidential campaign and once claimed Obama won North Carolina because of voter fraud. Some local stations have protested by airing these must-run segments during pre-dawn times of very low viewership,” added Cicilline.

  • Momentum: Up

    Joe Trillo (I)

    Wins:

    Identified a real RI problem. “According to 24/7 Wall Street, Rhode Island’s graduation rate is only at 82%, meaning that nearly 20% of Rhode Island students are not graduating high school, while public school spending has increased to over $15,000.00 per pupil.  This number is staggering, and it tells me that the formula for successful education in our state does not work.  Where is all this money going, because it’s not helping the students,” he added.

    Trillo continued, “I also find it exasperating to learn that 8th-grade NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) proficiency is only at 32% for math and 34.8% for reading.  These dramatically low numbers should be a wake-up call to Rhode Island taxpayers that the state’s education system, under Governor Gina Raimondo’s control, is failing our students.  Without a good education, young people are left with few options to be successful in their adult life.” 

    Losses:

    Yet to announce any endorsements.

    X-Factor: Best substantive week.

     
  • Momentum: Up

    Patricia Morgan (R)

    Wins:

    Morgan continued to pound away on Fung. Her campaign claimed, “Allan Fung talks a big game about how he’ll reform state government, but voters should question why Fung didn’t reform Cranston while he was mayor,” said Bryan Piligra, the campaign spokesman. “Fung’s administration has been plagued with pay-to-play scandals and gross mismanagement – he is not the solution to fixing Rhode Island’s corruption, he is the corruption. What he has learned in Cranston City Hall, he will perfect in the Statehouse.”

    Losses:

    Needs more hands on the campaign -- misses opportunities. 

    X-Factor: One of the most intriguing candidates in the race. Can she take advantage of opportunities?

     
  • Momentum: Up

    Gina Raimondo (D)

    Wins: 

    Raimondo was able to welcome the Volvo Ocean Race to Rhode Island. She was a player in bringing the major international race back to Newport.

    Also, the revenue numbers were better than anticipated and the FY18 and FY 19 combined shortfall drops from $250M to about $120M.

    Losses:

    The UHIP failure seems to look bleaker and bleaker each week. This past week Democrats hammered the Raimondo administration for the endless number of failures tied to the program.

    X-Factor: Needs to convince Rhode Islanders she cares about them. When will that begin?

     
  • Momentum: Flat

    Matt Brown (D)

    Wins:

    Brown kicks-off on Monday with a community event at the Southside Cultural Center in Providence.

    “The Rhode Island economy is fundamentally broken and it will take fundamental change to reverse the entrenched concentration of wealth that has left most people struggling, and put money, opportunity and power back into the hands of people and communities,” said Brown.

    Losses:

    Did Brown miss opportunities to strike a difference with Raimondo on the state’s budget deficit and her management of UHIP? For the most part, it was all quiet on the East Side front.

    Still seems to struggle with basic press relations.

    X-Factor:  When is he going to collect the Democratic Raimondo haters — teachers, retirees, progressives?

     
  • Momentum: Up

    Allan Fung (R)

    Wins:

    Fung hit Raimondo hard on UHIP.

    His campaign: "Raimondo's big screw up continues to hurt the most vulnerable and those who care for them. At last night's oversight hearings, we learned that the state remains so backlogged on long-term care applications that people are actually passing away before the state even gets to them. Virginia Burke, who advocates for long-term care facilities, said it bluntly, "The situation is not good," and testified that some aspects of the system were getting worse. As if that weren't bad enough, Raimondo's team continues to lose applications - just as they twice did for Mayor Fung's father, and attribute scanned documents to wrong cases, situations that fellow Democratic Representative Jason Knight called "a lack of competency and a lack of professionalism."

    Losses:

    Raimondo fired back on Fung's lack of support for rebuilding RI schools. 

    Raimondo hit Fung on failing to support the funding to improve schools across the state. “While Cranston families send their children to dangerously neglected schools that fail to keep students and teachers safe, warm and dry, Mayor Allan Fung patted himself on the back yesterday in a statement from his campaign to the Providence Journal for approving a minimal level of school repairs during his years as Mayor. In the same statement, Fung opposed Governor Raimondo’s plan to make a once-in-a-generation, $1 billion statewide investment to fix Rhode Island’s schools."

    Cranston public school officials and families are pleading for additional funding for school repairs, with School Superintendent Jeannine Nota remarking at a recent hearing on the hypocrisy of claiming the city is providing enough funding for students and teachers “when there’s only two outlets in a classroom.” At the same meeting, School Committee Chairwoman Janice Ruggieri called out Fung for tweeting that “strong public schools are the bedrock of strong communities” when, in her 10 years on the school committee Cranston’s schools have only received about 24 percent of the funding they’ve requested.

    X-Factor:  Scored points with calling out Raimondo on UHIP, but needs to be careful. Independent voting women want better schools.

     
  • Momentum: Flat

    Paul Roselli (D)

    Wins:

    Quiet week. Attended the poorly attended Moderate Party debate.

    Losses:

    N/A

    X-Factors: Called for updates to the Energy Facility Siting Act. Will his focus on RI's energy infrastructure -- and good government -- be enough?

     
  • Momentum: Down

    Luis Daniel Muñoz (I)

    Wins:

    Crickets

    Losses:

    Showed up at Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza's controversial "All In" education conference. The conference that Elorza barred teachers from attending.

    X-Factor: Picked up seven Twitter followers - now has 227.

     
  • Momentum: Down

    Giovanni Feroce (R)

    Wins:

    Has done little to answer questions about his financial melt-down.

    Losses:

    Continues to take on water due to questions about his ability to lead an organization. Endless bad press due to his failure at Benrus.

    X-Factor: No press releases. No policy announcements

     

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