The Shadow on the Ballot

Two curious items stand out in Ed Achorn’s column from last week, about the legislators “primaried” by the unions in their campaigns for general assembly seats. Here’s the first:

State Rep. Douglas Gablinske (D.-Bristol) was among the stunned fallen. He lost by 111 votes of 1,781 cast to a little-known challenger, Richard Morrison, who did not debate, has no known record of public service, and had far fewer campaign signs. His whole idea seemed to be to avoid engaging the general electorate. (Nor did he return my call for this column.)

An unknown candidate for public office who didn’t jump at the chance to create his own voice in an essay by a well known local columnist? Very curious. It’s as if his strategy is to avoid giving the voters whom the unions will deliver to him any excuse to question their instructions.

In retrospect, Mr. Gablinske said, it was a strategic mistake to have such a dominant edge in signs. Supporters concluded that there was no real contest, and did not take time to vote.

What do you think: Is this really a factor? Are a candidate’s supporters typically so blasé that they’ll stay home based on the chance that a dominance in yard signs means their votes are not needed? Even more: Is this such a huge factor that it outnumbers the number of actual voters who’ll be won over by name recognition?

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hellas
hellas
10 years ago

Forget unions. Forget signs. Gablinske slapped the schoolchildren of his district in the face by supporting the budget that gave them less money.

Katherine Puleo
Katherine Puleo
10 years ago

I live in Narragansett. Without doubt unions gave Tanzi ground support… however, Caprio outpaced her in signage… especially larger signage.
I do believe this played somewhat of a role in that many were turned off by the vulgarity and placement of Caprio signage. Tanzi is already owned by the unions and progressive groups which supported her. Two years is going to be an awfully long time. As to the comment above, it just shows that the school funding formula is not something voters even try to understand. RI voters are so stupid they can’t grasp a concept whereby the money follows the
child… the only grasp the concept of
what’s in it for me. I fear we are doomed though I harbor the hope that there are some tremendous Republican and INdependent candidates running who
may emerge as new leadership for our
broken and numb state.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

If the people in Narragansett have any common sense,they’ll vote for Tim Burchett.

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

Hellas is giving the standard union party-whine. The fact is, there is more money wasted in that district from top-heavy administration and union feather-bedding than the district is “losing” under the funding law.
There is no causative relationship between the amount of money spent and the quality of the educational result. Especially when most of the money is being spent on union teachers who have all the professionalism of DMV drones.

Scott Bill Hirst
Scott Bill Hirst
10 years ago

Hi!
I am NOT doing signs in my town council campaign. I will discuss my advertising plans AFTER the election on this web site possibly.
Signs are probably important, however connecting with independent minded voters who evaluate the candidates are the ones you need to reach. My adverting has my e-mail and home phone number.
Regards,
Scott

Scott Bill Hirst
Scott Bill Hirst
10 years ago

Hi!
I am NOT doing signs in my town council campaign. I will discuss my advertising plans AFTER the election on this web site possibly.
Signs are probably important, however connecting with independent minded voters who evaluate the candidates are the ones you need to reach. My adverting has my e-mail and home phone number.
Regards,
Scott

hellas
hellas
10 years ago

C’mon, Bob, we elect people to fight for our interests. Gablinske supported his own interests over those of the people (both pro- and anti-union people send kids to local schools) of his own district.

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

Don’t “c’mon” me. Your interpretation of Gablinske’s vote is your personal opinion, not a fact.
In a primary that had unusually low turnout, the union GOTV machine had enormous clout. The same thing happened in E. Providence, and it happened in the Pawtucket special election last December.

Bill
Bill
10 years ago

I’m still waiting for Projo columnist “Eddie” Achorn to explain his continuing silence about his wife Valerie Fortie’s apparent fraud while running the so-called (and in hindsight, hilariously-named) Education Partnership. Perhaps in his column on that subject he could interview Alan Shawn Feinstein, whom I understand was one of those whose substantial money donations for education Forti apparently ripped off for her own benefit (and for the presumed benefit of her husband, Achorn).

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