Politics

Nesi’s Notes: Might 21 | WPRI.com



Happy Saturday! Here’s one other version of my weekend column for WPRI.com — as at all times, ship your takes, suggestions and trial balloons to tnesi@wpri.com and observe me on Twitter and on Facebook.

Programming Note: Nesi’s Notes can be taking a one-week break as a result of upcoming vacation weekend. Look for the following version right here at WPRI.com on June 4.

1. The stage is about for a aggressive, and unpredictable, Democratic gubernatorial main over the following 4 months. Our new 12 News/RWU ballot — the primary public survey within the race — reveals greater than a 3rd of possible Rhode Island main voters are nonetheless on the fence, unpersuaded up to now by any of the candidates. Dan McKee and Nellie Gorbea are in a dogfight for first place, with the governor at 25% and the secretary of state at 23%. But primaries are notoriously fluid, since voters can’t simply default to a celebration label so as to make their selections. The unhealthy information for McKee: his 14-month audition within the job has but to persuade 75% of Democratic main voters that he deserves a full time period. But there’s additionally excellent news for him within the ballot: 45% of main voters give him a constructive job ranking, sufficient to win if he can convert extra of them to his facet. The survey is a transparent enhance for Gorbea, who can now cite impartial proof that she is McKee’s strongest Democratic rival, as she has been arguing via strategic releases of her personal inside ballot numbers. “We have the momentum, now, we need the resources,” her marketing campaign advised supporters in an e-mail Friday. On the flip facet, being tagged as a frontrunner means Gorbea is prone to face more durable scrutiny going ahead, which is able to check the sturdiness of her help. Then there may be Helena Foulkes. With simply 6% within the ballot, she has plenty of work to do if she needs to affix McKee and Gorbea within the prime tier — although that’s no shock to her marketing campaign crew, which has stockpiled an enormous warfare chest to fund the trouble. They have begun placing all that cash to make use of, with Tuesday’s launch of a 60-second introductory TV advert that’s arduous to overlook on the airwaves because of a $155,000 first-week purchase. As for Matt Brown and Luis Daniel Muñoz, with single-digit help and much much less cash than the opposite three, their paths to a victory on Sept. 13 look far more durable.

2. Dan McKee’s crew sees the economic system as one in every of his strongest arguments for a full time period, citing proof just like the information this week that Rhode Island’s unemployment fee fell to three.2% in April, the bottom it’s been since 1989. “Rhode Island is primed to continue this momentum – let’s make it happen,” McKee mentioned Thursday. But the governor faces the identical drawback as Joe Biden, who additionally likes to tout sturdy job progress on his watch — inflation, with costs up 7% throughout New England in April in contrast with a 12 months earlier. Our 12 News/RWU ballot reveals the rising price of dwelling is a prime concern amongst Rhode Island Democratic main voters, cited by 36% as an important problem within the gubernatorial race. When you mix that with the share of voters citing taxes, financial worries are the important thing problem for almost half the voters. McKee is anticipated to attempt to tackle these issues quickly when he declares a plan to make use of a part of the state’s big $878 million surplus to decrease taxes. (True, an economist would say reducing taxes is just going to gasoline inflation additional — however that doesn’t imply it gained’t be widespread with voters.) Speaker Shekarchi has referred to as a closed caucus of House Democrats for Wednesday to debate the finances.

3. Rhode Islanders will get their second probability to see the foremost candidates for governor facet by facet subsequent week, when a coalition of advocacy teams together with United Way and the Latino Policy Institute host a discussion board referred to as “Raising Rhode Islanders Out of Poverty.” The occasion, Friday at 10 a.m. on the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island in Providence, can be moderated by David Veliz, director of the Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition To Reduce Poverty, and streamed stay on Facebook. Dan McKee, Nellie Gorbea, Matt Brown, Helena Foulkes, Luis Daniel Muñoz and Ashley Kalus have all confirmed their attendance, organizers inform me.

4. In the Democratic main for the 2nd Congressional District, our 12 News/RWU ballot finds Seth Magaziner with a commanding lead of 33%, whereas his 5 rivals are caught at 5% or much less. With a large monetary benefit, lower than 4 months earlier than the first, and Democrats trying nervously forward to a face-off with possible GOP nominee Allan Fung, the Magaziner marketing campaign is undoubtedly in a robust place. The different candidates’ camps supply two rejoinders. First, Magaziner is the one one with any identify recognition, in order that 33% might be gentle; second, half of main voters are undecided, leaving loads of room for somebody to catch hearth and pull into competition with the treasurer. Sarah Morgenthau, the one Democrat airing TV advertisements to this point, disregarded her 4% exhibiting within the ballot throughout this week’s taping of Newsmakers. “You know what, the way I’m looking at it is that 50% are undecided,” she mentioned. “I have now been across the 2nd Congressional District. I am talking to voters every day. And what I’m hearing is, they’re excited about what I’ve got to bring to this campaign.” Appearing Tuesday on 12 News at 4, simply earlier than the ballot got here out, David Segal admitted he anticipated his present help to be low. (It was 5%, ok for second place.) “I’m also confident that support for me and this effort is going to grow as people hear more about my message, about my years of work on these important issues, about support from folks like Elizabeth Warren and a variety of local and national organizations that stand for building a fair economy,” Segal mentioned. Another Democrat, Joy Fox, landed a distinguished endorsement this week when former Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts signed on as co-host of a fundraiser Monday at O’Rourke’s. Multiple 2nd District main boards are within the works, however none are on the calendar to this point.

5. The race for lieutenant governor is never a barn burner, although Dan McKee’s 2018 picture end over Aaron Regunberg was an exception (and a consequential one at that). As anybody who’s ever managed a marketing campaign for LG or one other down-ballot workplace will let you know, the most important problem is normally getting folks to concentrate, not to mention care. Our 12 News/RWU ballot reveals appointed incumbent Sabina Matos has an actual race on her arms within the Democratic main. Matos is presently backed by 21% of main voters, with rivals Deb Ruggiero and Cynthia Mendes not far behind at 13% and 12%, respectively. (A fourth Democrat, former state Rep. Larry Valencia, entered the race after the ballot was finalized on an abolish-the-office platform.) Matos has a large money benefit over her challengers, however that isn’t stopping Ruggiero from being the primary to go on the air with a TV advert. The cheeky spot, which begins airing Monday, tags Matos as invisible with out utilizing her identify. “Everyone knows Providence is our capital,” says a narrator, “but do you know who our lieutenant governor is?” Three voters reply within the unfavorable, teeing up Ruggiero to put out her “four E’s” — economic system, training, surroundings, and elders.

6. A warning for the White House: even in blue Rhode Island, solely 40% of Democratic main voters need Joe Biden to run once more in 2024.

7. The return of abortion as a top-tier political problem is as soon as once more placing a highlight on pro-choice Catholic Democrats. San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone made headlines Friday when he barred Nancy Pelosi, a working towards Catholic, from receiving Communion because of her ongoing help for abortion rights. Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin is backing Cordileone on the choice. “Archbishop Cordileone has written a thoughtful, well-reasoned and compassionate letter that accurately reflects the teaching and the law of the Church,” Tobin advised me Friday evening. “I fully support the Archbishop’s statement.” Yet whereas Tobin has been vocal through the years in criticizing pro-choice Rhode Island Catholics like Patrick Kennedy and Gina Raimondo, he has by no means gone so far as Cordileone — and for now, he nonetheless has no plans to take action. “Any contacts I’ve had with Catholic leaders in Rhode Island about this issue over the years have been personal, pastoral and confidential, and for now I prefer to maintain that approach,” Tobin advised me. He added, “It is a good moment to recall, however, that all Catholics need to be in union with the Church, spiritually prepared, and in the state of grace, before they presume to approach the Table of the Lord to receive Holy Communion.”

8. The State House is poised for a landmark vote on Tuesday, with each chambers of the General Assembly set to legalize leisure marijuana. Pot possession will develop into authorized in Rhode Island the moment Governor McKee places pen to paper and indicators the invoice into legislation. Other insurance policies, corresponding to retail hashish shops, will take longer to begin — Steph Machado runs via the important thing provisions of the marijuana invoice right here.

9. When the U.S. Census Bureau introduced final 12 months that Rhode Island would maintain each its U.S. House seats, residents had two causes to rejoice: not solely would the state maintain its present illustration in Congress, however the inhabitants was rising extra robustly than beforehand believed. Or so we thought. Now the Census Bureau says its Post-Enumeration Survey (PES) has discovered Rhode Island overcounted by 5% — the third-highest fee within the nation. The state will get to maintain each House seats, because the research doesn’t alter the official numbers, but it surely’s now removed from sure Rhode Island will maintain two seats after 2032. That led a few of us to surprise why officers would put extra inventory in a post-census survey than the precise depend. Census professional Terri Ann Lowenthal advised me the PES is way more strong than, say, an exit ballot — the pattern dimension is 161,000 households nationwide, and all of them are required by legislation to take part. “The results are then matched, household by sample household, with the original census results, to determine how many people were missed (omissions), counted twice (duplications), or included by mistake or counted in the wrong place,” Lowenthal defined. She added, “By knowing the extent of inaccuracies, decision-makers at all levels of government and in the private sector can take steps to ensure fairer outcomes in services and in the distribution of resources and investment, for example.” The overcount has shortly develop into political fodder, with Republicans like Steve Frias criticizing Rhode Island leaders for the steps they took to push for an aggressive depend. Those concerned within the state’s Complete Count Committee like James Diossa push again, saying it was the job of the Trump administration to search out and take away duplicates. The Wall Street Journal’s influential editorial web page is already urging Republicans to name oversight hearings on the overcount in the event that they take again the House.

10. Remember the 2018 lawsuit filed in opposition to the state’s RhodeWorks community of truck tolls? U.S. District Judge William Smith will lastly start a bench trial within the long-running courtroom case on Monday.

11. Here’s a dispatch from my Target 12 colleague Eli Sherman: “As the General Assembly heads into the homestretch of this year’s legislative session, the Rhode Island housing crisis continues to rage on, and it remains top of mind among many voters. The median sale price for a single-family home topped $400,000 for the first time in April, up a whopping 20% from a year earlier. But total sales declined 12.5% over that time and interest rates have ticked upward in recent months – putting a question mark over what’s next for the housing market. One thing’s for sure: the lack of supply paired with ballooning costs is ‘sidelining prospective buyers,’ says Rhode Island Realtors President Aguede Del Borgo. As a result, many would-be first-time homebuyers are getting stuck in the rental market, which is in turn driving up competition and costs among renters. And the timing couldn’t be worse. Inflation continues to raise costs for just about everything, and many are feeling the effects in their wallets. The 12 News/RWU poll shows housing and cost of living are top-of-mind issues among Democratic primary voters – a couple data points likely weighing on lawmakers’ minds as they consider home much money to put toward addressing the problem. Sen. Meghan Kallman just filed legislation to create a new state Housing Department, and seed it with $300 million from ARPA funds. Gov. Dan McKee has proposed $250 million in ARPA funding for housing, which is currently being considered by lawmakers as part of his budget. But some experts warn that’s not likely to be enough, among them Richard Godfrey, executive director of RWU’s Cummings Institute for Real Estate. ‘That $250 million — that’s a quarter of a billion dollars — will only provide about 1,000 homes,’ he told 12 News. ‘That’s less than 5% of the need.’”

12. How to sort out excessive housing prices is a scorching matter throughout. In Washington, the White House launched a “Housing Supply Action Plan” this week that goals to assist tackle the issue of hovering costs and restricted availability. And in Massachusetts, Governor Baker is going through a backlash within the suburbs over Housing Choice, his marquee coverage to spur extra building. But the frontrunner to succeed the governor, Maura Healey, is on the identical web page. Appearing on 12 News at 4 this week, Healey advised Kim Kalunian that housing is the most important problem going through the Bay State. “Housing is really significant,” Healey mentioned. “It’s also significant for employers. We’ve got a housing crisis here. We need way, many more units of housing. We need to increase housing units by transit hubs. We need to increase availability of housing generally, across the South Coast and across the state.”

13. Steph Machado has a must-read investigation into how properly Providence is doing assembly the U.S. Department of Justice’s calls for that the town present an ample training for English learners. Progress has been made, however there’s nonetheless a methods to go.

14. Massachusetts House Speaker Pro Tempore Pat Haddad, who’s represented a Bristol County seat since 2001, is the star of a brand new documentary about Brayton Point’s transition from coal to grease to coal to (ultimately) wind.

15. My colleague Kayla Fish appears at how psychological well being sufferers are straining native ERs.

16. Christina Newland argues Greta Garbo and Buster Keaton invented superstar privateness.

17. Consumer Reports explains find out how to make your automotive final 200,000 miles or extra.

18. A little bit of attribute knowledge from Roger Angell, gone too quickly at 101: “It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitative as a professional sports team. What is left out of this calculation, it seems to me, is the business of caring — caring deeply and passionately, really caring — which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives.”

19. This week on Newsmakers — Democratic congressional candidate Sarah Morgenthau; breaking down the brand new 12 News/RWU ballot. Watch Sunday at 5:30 a.m. on WPRI 12 or 10 a.m. on Fox Providence, or pay attention on the radio Sundays at 6 p.m. on WPRO. You may also subscribe to Newsmakers as a podcast on iTunes (or wherever you get your podcasts). See you again right here on June 4.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/enterprise editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook




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