2018 Governor’s Race Playbook: Brown Claims Friendship of Civil Rights Leader, He Endorses Raimondo

Monday, June 04, 2018

At a recent community meeting, Democratic candidate for Governor Matt Brown discussed his long-time and close personal friendship with Georgia Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis. The only problem? Lewis has now endorsed Raimondo and Brown is having a difficult time substantiating his exact claims.

Brown said, "I’ve been blessed to have a great family, great friends, and one of my great friends [who] has also been a mentor to me over the years is a man named John Lewis, who some of you may know is a civil rights hero -- he led the march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge on so-called Bloody Sunday in March of 1965 fighting for voting rights and he was met by the billy clubs of Alabama state troopers and he was billy clubbed into unconsciousness and he and the other young marchers were gassed he was in his early 20s at the time.”

"I've spent many hours and many late nights sitting up with John Lewis one-on-one learning from him about what it takes to change a system that is hurting people that is morally wrong, that is corrupt but seems to have all the power and what John Lewis has said to me many times is very simple," said Brown.

Matt Brown refuses to provide information on Lewis claims
Now, Lewis has endorsed Governor Gina Raimondo for re-election, "On the march toward justice, we can’t turn our backs on progress. With training for good jobs, raising the minimum wage, reforming the justice system and breaking down barriers to a good education, Governor Raimondo has fought for Rhode Islanders who have been left out and left behind. She deserves to serve four more years as governor," said Lewis this past week.

After viewing the video -- and before Lewis’ endorsement -- GoLocal had reached out to the head of Lewis’ Capitol Hill office, Michael Collins by email and phone, and he refused to comment.

Ron Knox, Brown's spokesman, could not explain Brown's claims of multiple late-night meetings between Lewis and Brown.

He said, "Matt has known Congressman John Lewis since his time at City Year, an organization that the Congressman supported. Based on that relationship, Congressman Lewis came to Rhode Island in support of Matt's campaign for Secretary of State in 2002, and he spoke at a Matt Brown campaign event in East Providence."

Congressman John Lewis Endorsed Raimondo
"More recently, Congressman Lewis was gracious enough to speak with young Global Zero volunteers that Matt brought to meet him. Congressman John Lewis has always been and will always always be one of Matt's greatest heroes," said Knox.

After multiple follow-up emails, Knox said there was just one "late night" meeting between Lewis and Brown 29-years-ago.

"Matt first met Congressman Lewis at a City Year event at Howard University in 1999, where the congressman and then-President Clinton were speaking. That evening, Matt drove the Congressman home and, on the drive, began discussing the history of the civil rights movement. Congressman Lewis then took Matt to his office, where they stayed late into the night, looking at old photos from the civil rights era and discussing the history of that movement," said Knox.

  • Momentum: Up

    Patricia Morgan (R)


    Morgan, the consummate battler, went to court to challenge Peter Kilmartin to release public documents regarding the expenditure of Google monies given to Rhode Island.

    Morgan, like fellow GOP candidate Allan Fung and Democrat Matt Brown, hammered Governor Gina Raimondo on the PawSox proposal. SEE HERE



    X-Factor: Issues Morgan has been talking about for years are growing in importance.

  • Momentum: Up

    Luis Daniel Muñoz (I)


    This week he unveiled three initiatives:

    First, the D.I.N.O. program — dynamic intelligence for nation opportunity — and economic education initiative focused on preparing students for better-paying jobs.

    Second, the R.I.N.O. — redefining intelligence for national opportunity — a career focused retaining program for Rhode Island workers.

    And, third, MEND-i, a statewide community health initiative that puts more emphasis on the community health systems. SEE INTERVIEW HERE


    Are these the issues that Rhode Islanders care about?

    X-Factor: A lot of substance, but little style points. Needs follow-up.

  • Momentum:Flat

    Allan Fung (R)


    PawSox, PawSox, PawSox. Fung is hammering Raimondo on the latest PawSox proposal that Raimondo's Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor testified in favor of House Finance on Thursday night.

    Pryor joined some bill supporters claiming Mattiello's new bill would cost more (as much as $25 million more), but eliminate the risk for taxpayers. But, by Friday morning, Raimondo said the taxpayers would be on the hook if the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency fails. So this new proposal that the Raimondo administration purportedly supports -- costs more and still puts the taxpayer on the hook.

    This is good eating for Fung's campaign.


    Raimondo via the Democratic Governor's Association is hammering Fung on pay equity and gun control. This is designed to create a gender gap for Fung. He needs to be careful here -- could be the difference maker.

    X-Factor:  Needs to be careful. Has to make sure that he does not lose female voters over the next few months - guns, equity, schools, reproductive rights.

  • Momentum: Flat

    Gina Raimondo (D)


    Deepwater Wind announcement claimed a large number of construction jobs over the next few years -- potentially as many as 800, but fewer than 50 permanent jobs in Rhode Island. 


    The PawSox are becoming a big problem - does she favor Speaker Nick Mattiello's new proposal? 

    X-Factor: Will she push through an unpopular funding scheme?

  • Momentum: Flat

    Spencer Dickinson (D)


    This week Spencer Dickinson said that he name Ted Siedle as a special prosecutor to "dig into problems with the RI retirees pension fund."

    Dickinson is the only candidate from either party who, as a member of the House, actively fought what he calls the so-called ‘pension reform’ disaster of 2011.” 

    Dickinson says that the legislation pushed through by Speaker Gordon Fox and then-treasurer Gina Raimondo in November 2011 has "angered thousands of teachers and state employees who still believe the action was illegal, unnecessary and unfair."

    Siedle, a columnist for Forbes Magazine and former attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission, "does not mince words when sharing his views on the subject:  “Pension fraud … 38 Studios… these are the greatest crimes ever perpetrated in the history of the state.” 



    X-Factors:  Can he run successfully on the failures of pension reform?

  • Momentum: Flat

    Matt Brown (D)


    Brown may be smelling blood on the PawSox issue with Gina Raimondo -- each week the Raimondo message is ever changing. Raimondo blew up Mattiello's newest proposal on Friday.

    Brown charges, "The latest PawSox proposal is more of the same. There’s no way revenue will be there to pay these bonds and taxpayers will be on the hook.   

    The entire effort to get the taxpayers of Rhode Island to subsidize the PawSox -- a corporation owned by a group of billionaires  -- must end.

    The people of Rhode Island struggling to make ends meet shouldn’t have to subsidize a corporation owned by a group of billionaires. They can build this proposed stadium themselves.

    If you own a business, you should make the investment, take the risk and reap the profits.  That’s how the free market works. What’s happening here is corporate socialism: government taking taxpayers money and subsidizing a private corporation.

    This effort to compel Rhode Island taxpayers to subsidize billionaire owners has hurt the PawSox brand. Rhode Islanders are smart - they know they’re getting fleeced and they’re angry about it. A team that used to be of and for the local community is now owned by a group that seems to be solely out to maximize their own profits. I think that’s at least part of the reason attendance at PawSox games is down.

    Instead of another taxpayer giveaway to another wealthy corporation, the state should meet its Medicaid obligations, cease raiding 911 emergency services and address the real problems facing Rhode Islanders. Our political leaders always take care of the rich, connected and powerful while the people are forgotten and the state fails to meet basic needs."


    Needs to explain the John Lewis claim.

    X-Factor:  Cha-ching -- PawSox issue may be the winner to build some momentum.

  • Momentum: Down

    Giovanni Feroce (R)


    No press releases. No press events. 



    X-Factor: What happened to the man of action?

  • Momentum: Down

    Joe Trillo (I)


    Trillo continues a Trumpesque narrative. This could be a winning formula to get him into the teens or more.  


    Still needs to prove he can expand beyond the Trump-base.

    X-Factor: Trump, Trump, Trump. Could this be a winning formula to get him in the race?



Stay Connected — Free
Daily Email