State party endorses Finn’s foe

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State party endorses Finn’s foe

Postby newportri » Wed Jul 13, 2016 1:04 pm

This is great I think! I don't think it is just because of the gun issues they torpedoed her, but she honestly didn't accomplish anything while she was in the House..
From Newport Daily News:
ELECTION 2016: HOUSE DISTRICT 72
State party endorses Finn’s foe


Democratic officials in Middletown, Portsmouth had backed ex-rep


By Joe Baker

Staff writer

Local Democratic officials are up in arms about the decision by state party Chairman Rep. Joseph McNamara, D-Warwick, to endorse local businessman and political novice James J. Cawley in his legislative primary race against former state Rep. Linda D. Finn.

Both the Portsmouth and Middletown Democratic Town Committees formally voted to support Finn in the race to succeed Rep. Daniel P. Reilly, R-Portsmouth, who decided not to run for reelection. Despite that, McNamara — apparently without talking to Finn — endorsed Cawley after speaking to him briefly on the phone.

The state Democratic Party did not even call Cawley to notify him he was being endorsed. The owner of R.J. Cawley Contracting of Newport said he found out he won the endorsement by monitoring the secretary of state’s election website.

Both Finn and Middletown Town Council President Robert J. Sylvia, who is chairman of the Middletown Democratic Town Committee, said they believe the decision to endorse Cawley was political, albeit for different reasons.

Sylvia said he believes the decision was political revenge because Finn voted against Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello in his 2014 race against Rep. Michael J. Marcello, D-Scituate to succeed former Speaker Gordon D. Fox, D-Providence.

Fox resigned in the middle of the 2014 session after it was le arned he was the subject of a federal bribery investigation. Fox ended up pleading guilty to accepting a bribe and misusing campaign funds and was sentenced to three years in federal prison.

"McNamara was acting on the speaker’s behalf," Sylvia said. "That came from the speaker down."

Finn said she believes the endorsement was based on her outspoken advocacy for increased gun control rather than her vote for Marcello, one of only six the Scituate lawmaker received. "I think it has less to do with (the Marcello vote) then the whole gun issue," Finn said.

During her one term in the House of Representatives — Reilly beat her in a 2014 rematch of their 2012 campaign — Finn sponsored several gun-control bills and was actively involved in the Rhode Island Coalition Again st Gun Violence.

In the most recent session, the House passed legislation that would have stripped power from local police chiefs in awarding permits to carry concealed weapons, a bill opposed by the coalition. The bill died in the Senate on the last night of the 2016 session.

Normally each legislative district has its own committee that endorses a candidate when
there is a primary. But Finn said there was some miscommunication on the makeup of that district committee after she lost her 2014 race against Reilly and no committee was ever appointed.

Finn said she called McNamara several times over the past few weeks in an attempt to seek the state party’s endorsement. One time she did talk briefly to McNamara, Finn said. The chairman said he couldn’t talk and would call her back but never did, Finn said.

Cawley, who is making his first bid for elected office, said he decided to run two weeks ago to be an advocate for small businesses. When he filed his candidacy papers, Cawley said he received a packet of information about how to run for office. There was a section about endorsements and, since he was running for a state office, he decided to give the state Democratic Party a call to request its endorsement. He made no attempt to talk to local Democratic officials, Cawley said.

"I spoke to Joe McNamara and told him my background," Cawley said. "It wasn’t a lengthy conversation. I think I just got lucky."

Although not as blunt as Sylvia, Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee Chairman Leonard B. Katzman said he was disappointed that the state party chose to ignore the wishes of both local town committees.

"We were blindsided," Katzman said. "We have never met Mr. Cawley. And as far as I know, Mr. McNamara has never even been to our district."

Sylvia said he thinks it’s a conflict of interest for the chairman of the state party to be a sitting state representat ive who can do the bidding of the speaker.

"What does Joe McNamara or Nicholas Mattiello have to do with who we want to endorse for our district?" Sylvia said. "Could it be that Linda Finn didn’t support Nick Mattiello? Nothing against Cawley. I wouldn’t know the man if I walked by him."

Sylvia was just as blunt in an email he sent to McNamara on July 6.

"Your State Party actions by doing this, without the Middletown and Portsmouth Party, is classless and unprofessional. This shows me that you have no respect for the local troops who do the grunt work," Sylvia wrote in his message to McNamara. "I want you to immediately withdraw your endorsement and honor the Middletown and Portsmouth endorsement of Linda Finn. I personally will not accept anything less."

Sylvia said M cNamara has not replied to the email and has not called him.

Finn said she isn’t convinced party endorsements are as influential as they once were. Other than the fact that Cawley’s name will be listed first on the primary ballot, there probably is no advantage to getting the nod from the state party, she said.

"Why would (state officials) be deciding what’s a better fit for the district?" Finn said.

In an attempt to get comment from McNamara, The Daily News spoke briefly with Ann Gooding, Democratic Party director of communications. McNamara did not return the request for comment.
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Re: State party endorses Finn’s foe

Postby rijohng » Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:50 pm

Interesting how they stated "would have stripped power from local police chiefs in awarding permits..." I wonder which way the writer of this article leans, or if he is simply ignorant of the statute.
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Re: State party endorses Finn’s foe

Postby newportri » Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:32 pm

The author is most likely ignorant of the law, just like many of the Chiefs. Chief Clements even stated (according to Projo) that the bill would take away their discretion.
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Re: State party endorses Finn’s foe

Postby RImike » Wed Jul 13, 2016 6:35 pm

At the end of the day, it comes down to elect-ability in the fact that Finn represents the cancer called Progressive Liberalism and most people here know it. It tanked her business and also is tanking her political career.
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Re: State party endorses Finn’s foe

Postby newportri » Wed Jul 13, 2016 7:31 pm

RImike wrote:At the end of the day, it comes down to elect-ability in the fact that Finn represents the cancer called Progressive Liberalism and most people here know it. It tanked her business and also is tanking her political career.

I hope you are right about that, but unfortunately both the Portsmouth and Middletown Deomcratic Town Committees endorsed her so the Progressives are not going away any time soon.
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