David Cote Running for State GOP Chairman

David Cote, Chairman of the South Kingstown Republican Town Committee, has formally declared his candidacy for State GOP Chair…

If the RIGOP is to succeed with its mission in 2008, it must be run like a business.
As a Director of one of the largest technology corporations in the world with responsibility for $500 million in annual revenue, a 24 year veteran of the high tech industry, and a graduate of Seton Hall University with a Master of Business Administration, I have experience of how to run the RIGOP like a successful business where appropriate.
My vision for the RI GOP is the product of my success as Chairman of the South Kingstown Republican Town Committee. Before I became Chair of SK GOP in 2005, it was inactive. The Committee regularly failed to generate a quorum for meetings, and its fundraising numbers were insufficient.
Today, the SKGOP is the fastest growing Republican Town Committee in Rhode Island. It is the second largest RTC in RI by total numbers, and the largest by monthly attendance. Fundraising was up by more than 400% after my first term. This could only have been achieved by uniting the existing members and successfully recruiting new members.
My vision for the RI GOP is also the product of my experience as a Republican candidate for public office and an elected official in Rhode Island in 2002. Having successfully run for elected office as a Republican, I am aware of the challenges faced by Republican candidates in Rhode Island.
Finally, my vision for the RI GOP is the product of my experience as Secretary of RI GOP since 2005. As an officer of the RI GOP, I have seen first hand the needs of candidates across the State of Rhode Island.
This diverse and complete background of experience provides me with a uniquely qualified perspective for leading the RI GOP to success in 2008.
In conjunction with his announcement, Mr. Cote has released a detailed plan describing what he would like to accomplish as chair…


In the simplest of terms, the mission of the Rhode Island Republican Party is to elect more Republicans in Rhode Island. How this mission is most effectively carried out is a function of the following components:
  • Fundraising
  • Candidate Recruitment
  • Message Development
  • Resource Allocation
Following is our vision for fulfilling the mission of RI GOP to ensure its success in 2008. We highly recommend a team approach with two experienced leaders that have the ability to represent the Republican Party to the media or otherwise when the other is unavailable. David Coté and Joseph White represent the best combination of such a team.
Fundraising
  1. Reach out to existing and prospective high level donors for direct personal solicitation by the Chairman. Prospective donors should be selected based on their affiliation with business networks, government reform networks, and other networks inclined to support the RI GOP platform.
  2. Grow the Finance Committee / Anchors component to maximize the benefit of well connected RI GOP supporters.
  3. Solicit the support of Republican elected officials in Rhode Island and beyond, the Republican National Committee, the Republican Governor’s Association, the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, and other groups that may be able to offer speakers, headliners and other avenues for attracting donors to the party and to fundraising events.
  4. Maintain a consistent direct mail and email solicitation effort of the existing RI GOP house file and targeted prospecting lists.
  5. Investigate standard options available to State Political Parties that allow for raising money from areas outside of Rhode Island.
Candidate Recruitment
  1. Number one is the support of local GOP grassroots committees. Unite local GOP’s to achieve our Republican defined common objectives.
  2. Identify districts with vulnerable / narrowly elected Democrat incumbents for focus of candidate recruitment efforts.
  3. Hold regular meetings with party leaders in vulnerable Democrat districts to solicit their assistance with candidate recruitment and focus their recruitment efforts.
  4. Conduct candidate training sessions to demonstrate the Party’s commitment to recruited candidates and to maintain close contact with their campaigns.
Message Development
  1. Focus on the Republican Party’s fundamental principles of fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, and limited growth of government (Refer to recent RIGOP Platform).
  2. Respond immediately to the media on everyday events that violate our core Republican platform.
  3. Support Governor Carcieri’s policies and defend his efforts to reform government and remove the status quo.
  4. Lead the way on issues important to the Governor in which he is determining the pulse of both our citizens and elected officials.
  5. Build on the recent RIGOP platform to create an identity for Republicans in Rhode Island. Expand to recruit organizations that naturally would fit with the Republican Party such as tax groups, government reform groups, etc.
  6. Conduct polling research to refine points of communication for Republican candidates in targeted districts.
  7. Coordinate all legislative races to ensure they stay on-message through the election season.
  8. Create a plan to reach out to unaffiliated voters and fiscally conservative Democrats.
  9. Create a plan to reach out to local clergy and their members.
Resource Allocation
  1. Provide direct and in-kind financial support to targeted Republican candidates who demonstrate campaign viability.
  2. Serve as a foundation of support to help Republican candidates benefit from the growing use of technology with direct voter contact.
  3. Function as a clearing house to Republican candidates for direct voter contact resources, including strategy, printing, media, etc.
  4. Coordinate human resources / volunteers to targeted races in the final days of the election cycle.
  5. Discuss and define methods of using funds to support Republican Candidates.

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Paul the Paperboy
Paul the Paperboy
14 years ago

Way to go Dave Cote’! It’s refreshing to see a challenger emerge to the lawyer who told the Providence Phoenix that he essentially had the election wrapped up! (http://www.thephoenix.com/article_ektid34301.aspx)
Gio needs to donate big time to the RI GOP (after he sucked $11K out of it during the last election cycle).
As a delegate, Dave can count on my vote!

oz
oz
14 years ago

I agree with Paul’s comments. Additionally, Dave’s platform is light years ahead of Gio’s, and I like that he has a running mate in Joe White.
11 grand! What is this practice of RIGOP “officials” using the party coffers as an ATM machine? I’m still seething over the outright lies by Pat Morgan regarding the money from the RNC, and to find out that Newton, Deckman, Gio and others were lining their pockets at the expense of the rank and file candidates is infuriating.
Dave and Joe have my vote.

Will
Will
14 years ago

I’m very excited that Dave and Joe have agreed to take on this herculean task, especially after the amount of pressure that they’ve been under to just let Gio slide in without any opposition. The fundamental question is: “do we want a real election, or do we want insiders to self-select themselves without having to work for it?” Had there not been such a concerted effort by certain unnamed and unscrupulous insider hacks, Dave and Joe most likely would have officially come forward much earlier. We’re going to make up for lost time, aren’t we? Dave and Joe know how to work well with others (and with each other as a team) and are truly focused on rebuilding the party from the ground up. They certainly aren’t in it for the money. They also aren’t going to be puppets for anyone or for any special interests. As for Gio, I wish him well personally, but I am going to join with others in not only demanding to find out exactly what the $11,000 paid for that we couldn’t have gotten volunteers to do, but I am going to call for the voluntary return of the money that he made off of the party, so that it can actually be used to get Republicans elected. As for Dave and Joe’s plan to rebuild the party, you can tell that a lot of thought was put into crafting a Republican Plan for action. It’s not simply a generic one, such as the one that was submitted on Gio’s behalf. Here’s a partial sample from their press release: “In the simplest of terms, the mission of the Rhode Island Republican Party is to elect more Republicans in Rhode Island. How this mission is most effectively carried out is a function of the following… Read more »

Perry Ellis
Perry Ellis
14 years ago

The corrupt insider siphoning of party funds did not just start in the ’06 cycle (which was the focus of the Projo article).
I looked back into ’04 and found that $10,813 in “Consulting Fees” was paid to “Warren Columbia” a company owned by Matthew Wojcik of Carcieri’s staff.
Ken McKay, of the Governor’s office also received $14,632.60 in Salary and Benefits paid in September and October of ’04 as well as $2,926.52 of “Employee Serv.” (whatever that means) paid in Oct ’04. When was Ken McKay ever an employee of the State Party?
Bottom line, the Governor and his people are in it for themselves.
We need change, and I think Cote and White are the leaders we need to get the party headed in the right direction.

Sean
Sean
14 years ago

I am glad to see the passion that is playing out in this forum. Having known Gio since high school I would recommend that the accusations of corruption etc. are really over the top. The money that went to GIO and others was out of the federal victory account, which CANNOT be used for candidate support under federal law.
I watched Gio work for months on behalf of the party that was all pro-bono. We sta on the Ward 5 Committee in Cranston. He was an ardent supporter of Steve Laffey mayoral term. He is also one of the charter members of the Young Republicans. Never mind the years of party involvement before that.
I also witnessed the 80 hours plus per week he worked during the election assisting many members of the party at the local, state and federal level.
I too am excited that someone else has decided to throw the hat in the ring. All elections should have choices. I hope the best slate wins.
One of the reasons that we fail as a party is because of these tactics of trying to destroy someone. Have any of you personally met Gio? If not I encourage you to contact him.He will be back in town Friday.
I promise you that if Dave Cote ends up as chair he will get 100% of my support as well as everyone else who supports Gio. We need to be a party of unity and not divisiveness. If you care to discuss this with me personally, feel free to call me (401)301-1018.
On the other hand I recommend you save this vitriol and insults for someone who is deserving.
Respectfully,
Sean Gately

Jon Scott
Jon Scott
14 years ago

I am pressed for time, as I am currently on a brief break at CPAC, but wanted to take a second to post.
Gio is NOT the insider that he is being made out to be. He worked for Victory and got paid but put in a great deal of time and did yeoman’s work. He has the best interests of the Party as a whole in mind. He is not going to be a yes man for the Governor or anyone else and, for those of you who know my story, I obviously do not speak at the behest of the Governor or the current Party Chair.
I am happy that Dave is in the race, as I believe in a positive debate of ideas. When I get the chance, I will try to expound on my feelings but do not buy the position that paints Gio as an insider or someone who is taking advantage. Let the debate go forth on vision, plan, and intent. We do ourselves a disservice otherwise.
JPS

Perry Ellis
Perry Ellis
14 years ago

Mr. Scott, the defenders of the status quo are beginning to spin this story to suit their selfish self interests. I am disappointed to see you’ve joined them.
What the Governor’s people took from the party is dispicable. We need givers, not takers.

Will
Will
14 years ago

The issue of the $11,000 in “consultant” fees to me, isn’t about corruption, in so much as that it’s about terribly misplaced spending priorities within the leadership of the RIGOP. I ask again, “what did we get for a fee, that we couldn’t have gotten for free?” I submit, very little.
I would not allege that Gio himself is an “insider” in the most negative connotation of the word. However, he is well-connected. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that he just appeared out of nowhere. We know who’s really behind him, and it isn’t the governor. I would concur with Sean whole-heartedly and would certainly NOT assert that Gio is corrupt in the least.
Everything that I know about Gio leads me to believe that he is a good person, with a good work ethic and family. However, being a good person is not the main qualification to be a state GOP chair. I’m reminded of an old SNL phrase “not ready for prime time.”
A proven track record of party leadership, the ability to clearly express Republican viewpoints in the media, building coalitions with good government groups, as well as the ability to network and to raise funds for the party and then to know how to set priorities on how to spend those limited funds appropriately, should be what we should be focusing on as a party.
PS Jon, glad you are enjoying yourself down at CPAC. I sat out this year, but am paying attention from home. I expect to be back there for 2008.

Spencer Maguire
Spencer Maguire
14 years ago

As a candidate who ran for the General Assembly last year, I am extremely interested in the future of the state party. A strong party backing up the candidates is essential if any of us are going to win next time. Therefore, after a disastrous November, I think it is great that we still have enough interest in the party to have a real election for chair. That is a good sign. Just so there is no confusion, I’ll say up front that I am a Gio supporter. That said, does this all really have to go down like this. The last seventy-two hours have been a well-coordinated, mean-spirited smear campaign that has to go down as one of the worst hatchet jobs in quite some time. This party needs to come together and grow, not get into another pissing match between warring sides. Our numbers are too few for us to survive like this. While Gio and his slate have put themselves out there in a positive way, the character assasination coming from all angles on this blog is disheartening. Did we not learn anything from 2006? I have nothing against Dave Cote and Joe White, as I don’t really know either of them personally, but I can’t help but think these last few days reflect poorly on them and the kind of divisive leadership that we can expect under them. I guess in the end, all I can really say is that regardless of the way this election turns out, all of us that ran last time will have to make a decision sometime soon about whether to run again next year. For me, part of that decision will depend on the state of the party. I am a lot less likely to put myself out there again… Read more »

David Davis
David Davis
14 years ago

Spencer:
Do you have some inside information that links Mr. Cote and Mr. White to the story reported by the Journal not started here on this blog or any other for that matter. Your coming on here and stating:
“I have nothing against Dave Cote and Joe White, as I don’t really know either of them personally, but I can’t help but think these last few days reflect poorly on them and the kind of divisive leadership that we can expect under them.”
is actually more of a character assasination than anything that was said about Gio. The data that came out regarding the previous ways of the GOP was public record and is the truth, the previous leadership gave more to consultants than they did to candidates, except for Mr. Chafee and Carcieri.
The fact that many are upset that this money was used in this way is a legitimate complaint based on the fact that Mr. Carcieri stood in front of all of us with candidates in front of him stating that the money was for them.
The new leadership needs to stand up for the values of all Republicans in the State of Rhode Island, not just those that Goose step behind “The Don”. We need leadership that can accomplish something greater than stating that we think we had good candidates and we think we ran a good campaign. We need leadership that is going to fight the battle and speak out against the status-quo.
At least this time there is a true debate about the qualifications and commitement of the future leadership. Hopefully they are all registered republicans, as I would hate for them to try to sneak in a registered democrat again.
Did I miss anything?

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

“defenders of the status quo are beginning to spin this story to suit their selfish self interests” “I looked back into ’04 and found that $10,813 in “Consulting Fees” was paid to “Warren Columbia” a company owned by Matthew Wojcik of Carcieri’s staff.” “Bottom line, the Governor and his people are in it for themselves.” Perry, I cannot tell if you are a badly informed Republican or a Democrat trying to pose as a Republican to lend false credibility to your negative comments about the RIGOP. In any event, you are dead wrong about these three matters. 1.) The only defender of the status quo in this state is the RI Democrat Party. 2.) Matt Wojcik is a remarkably talented political consultant and policy analyst. Unfortunately for him, he actually believes in good government in a state that specializes in the opposite. Consequently, he has worked his ass off for the RIGOP and Republican candidates for twenty years, mostly as a volunteer. Because he and a lot of us realize that one big aspect of good government is two viable parties, not one dominant, piggy one. Actually, I want to thank you for bringing up Matt Wojcik, Perry. He is emblematic of one of the great strengths of the RI Republican Party: many talented people willing to give their time and hard work to improve government in this state and hold bad politicians accountable. I have no doubt Matt earned every dime of that $10,813 within 2004 alone. But if he sat on his hands in 2004, he earned ten, a hundred times that with all his work in the prior two decades. 3.) The Governor’s only weakness is misplaced loyalty, as he continues to occasionally turn to a couple of advisors who have not always served him or the… Read more »

Will
Will
14 years ago

Spencer, I’ll agree with you that this should not get personal. I’ve known Gio for some time, especially through his involvement with the YRs. Gio is a good person and lawyer, and as I said, I wish him nothing but the best. The main focus should be on the future well-being of the party, not on personalities or on whom supported whom. In the event that Gio is not elected as chair, I would hope and expect that he would remain fully engaged in it. “Therefore, after a disastrous November, I think it is great that we still have enough interest in the party to have a real election for chair.” Despite early misinformation to the contrary, there has been plenty of interest in the chairmanship, as well as for other party offices for at least several months now. However, certain persons, whom I will not name, but whom are generally known to be old and entrenched insider hacks, have with much larger “hatchets” than might be available to either you or I, gone out of their way to scare off and intimidate any potential challengers to the status quo — because to be honest, the status quo personally benefits them, even if no one else. I have known both Joe and Dave for several years now, and both of them have impeccible track records as local party leaders. They both have the proven ability to raise funds, to build bridges with people they don’t always agree with. I’m glad that they want to work together, as their strengths complement each other very well. I applaud both Dave and Joe for even coming forward in the face of the proverbial heaps of dung that they’ve had to put up with recently, especially given the head start that Gio was able… Read more »

Perry Ellis
Perry Ellis
14 years ago

SusanD, after reading the Projo article, I was shocked with disbelief. I expect Democrats to be corrupt, but corrupt Republicans draw my ire.
So I checked the SecState website and the FEC site to see if the Journal was making something out of nothing. I was disappointed to learn that the Projo article was very acurate.
When we go cycle after cycle without any effective gains in the legislature, the leadership of the party needs to be called into question. When political insiders receive more party funds than candidates, I call it corruption. You can disagree, if you’d like, but I think it is wrong.
In fact, if the Rhode Island State Central Committee were a charity organization, people would be going to jail!
We need leadership that will raise money and use that money to help more reform-minded Republican candidates get elected to the legislature.
An ineffective opposition party, effectively, DOES enable the status quo.

Sean
Sean
14 years ago

Perry,
The money was from the RNC not the state. It was designated funds for the legal support provided that could not be given to the candidates. It really is that simple. We can also discuss the untold thousands that didn’t go to local candidates because they went to the effort on our own behalf as a party to make Whitehouse the freshman Senator from RI.
Sean

Sean
Sean
14 years ago

Perry,
The money was from the RNC not the state. It was designated funds for the legal support provided that could not be given to the candidates. It really is that simple. We can also discuss the untold thousands that didn’t go to local candidates because they went to the effort on our own behalf as a party to make Whitehouse the freshman Senator from RI.
Sean

Sean
Sean
14 years ago

Just an FYI
http://www.thephoenix.com/notfornothing/PermaLink,guid,9e84047c-459a-4d9b-bccb-e275b740b47e.aspx
Carcieri goes public in supporting Cicione
Governor Carcieri has just gone public with his support for Gio Cicione as the new GOP state chairman. Last month, N4N broke the story that Cicione had won the governor’s support.
Here are the details, from a news release:
Giovanni Cicione has played an active role in the Rhode Island Republican Party, and I am confident that he has the experience and the energy to continue building the party in the state,Governor Carcieri said. He is a well-respected attorney who is known for his sharp intellect and a keen understanding of politics and policy.
Gio and I share a vision of a Republican Party that is a vital, active and inclusive organization that reaches out to diverse communities throughout Rhode Island,Carcieri continued. We also both strongly believe that a two-party system would be healthy for our states future. Like me, Gio is dedicated to uniting the party, to raising money, to growing the ranks of Republicans in our state, and to fielding candidates who offer our citizens a real choice in whom they elect to represent them.
I very much respect the experience and enthusiasm demonstrated by other candidates for this position,Carcieri said. And I appreciate their willingness to take on this important role.
That said, I strongly support Giovanni Cicione to lead the Rhode Island Republican Party,Carcieri concluded.

Perry Ellis
Perry Ellis
14 years ago

Sean, you sound like a Democrat who talks about federal money like it belongs to the politicians and not the people who contributed it! Unfortunately you are not the only “Republican” who talks that way. RNC money, State GOP money, State check-off, its all money that was contributed to the Party BY REPUBLICANS and as a Republican I think the payments, to Gio, to Britt, Compton, McKiernan were the wrong thing (for the Party Leadership) to do and much worse, it was wrong for them (Gio, Britt et al) to TAKE the payments.
Thoughout the state there are Attorneys who have spent countless hours advising their respective City and Town Committees and putting in hundreds of hours around election time preparing poll checkers, overseeing election day operations and then getting involved in recount or voter discrepancy issues, sometimes extending weeks after the election. These Attorneys not only volunteer all their time, but in some cases that I know of, they are among the largest financial CONTRIBUTORS to their City/Town committees and local candidates.
Go back to those campaign finance reports Sean and compare Contributions to Disbursements. I think you’ll agree, Gio and the rest fall into the category of TAKERS!

Andy
Andy
14 years ago

Sean is exactly right about the federal account and federal money. This money was transfers from the RNC (Rule 11) and did not cost the party anything.
Gio was paid for 3-4 months worth of work, he led a team of over 130 attorneys and election officials for both the primary and general elections.
He was lead attorney both days, and handled all legal matters druing the election.
The other mentioned consultants ran GOTV operations. Nobody “got rich” off the party, like the article suggests. The only people who did get rich was the RI Victory’s direct mail vendors!
The small donations to GQ candidates came out of the state account. This is this account that the party lives off day-2-day.

Sean
Sean
14 years ago

Other than posting diatribes and accusations on this site, could you outline the hours that you have volunteered for republican campaigns, GOTV efforts, Poll watching, money that you have donated to who and for what, committee’s you have been active with, office that you have run for, Organizations that you are a member of.
Also feel free to provide us with your true identity.
I think then we can continue to have credible dialogue with the giver and taker conversation.
I would also like to have lunch with you and discuss this in person. Will knows me. Please call me at the number posted.
Respectfully,
Sean

David Davis
David Davis
14 years ago

Andy:
Actually there are provisions under Rule 11 that allows federal dollars to be contributed to individual candidates. Even with that said, There are more duplicitus facts in the list of names. The one that stands out the most in my eyes is the $30k to Darcie Johnston who was also being paid directly by Carcieri and Chafee. How much did she manage to bring into the State GOP coffers via her fundraising efforts?
That some (on both sides of the GOP Chairmanship race) want to make this an issue about the Chafee / Laffey camps is comical. The fact remains there are some that want the status quo and to have their little exclusive club and not fight for real change so that thy can keep there consulting gigs (not just with the GOP but as lobbiests at the State House) and then there are those that want to really reform the machine in this state and have a future for ourselves and our families based on real “REPUBLICAN” values.

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