Gemma’s Back in the Race

Local businessman Anthony Gemma formally announced his bid for Congress today in CD1. He’ll be running as a Democrat and facing off with David Cicilline in a primary this fall, I think. You’d never know who his opponent is though by his speech on Sunday. According to reports filed by Ted Nesi and Ian Donnis, Gemma never named his primary opponent and saved his barbs for Republican Brendan Doherty.

(He) left public service as soon as he became eligible for his state pension. … Brendan Doherty lives in a public sector bubble.

So does the Democrat Gemma oppose public sector pensions? Does he not think that the public employees deserve a pension? Plus, didn’t Doherty leave public service as soon as his supervisor, Governor Chafee, expressed the opinion that illegal immigration can actually be a good thing for a community? It seemed the new Governor’s stance on Secure Communities might have had more to do with Doherty deciding to leave his position than anything about having a fully vested pension.
How long has Gemma considered running for this seat? I’m assuming it was more than just Sunday. So then why can’t he offer any substance to his proposals?

[Gemma] is “most equipped – and therefore most likely – to create thousands of well-paying jobs in Rhode Island and, by extension, in the United States.” He promised more details in the weeks to come but said his proposals would include a plan to make college more affordable.

More details in the weeks to come? He’s had two years to come up with these details and this is what we get?
Ian Donnis added

Gemma also talked big about creating jobs and transforming how members of Congress do their jobs. The details, he said, will be forthcoming

I’m glad this speech was planned so well ahead. Additionally, Sam Howard noted

Thus Mr. Gemma introduced that his candidacy would run under the theme of the “New Idea”. However, he did not once say what that New Idea would be, leaving the door open to speculation.

Why not wait until you have at least some details to offer in the speech?
Maybe another example of Gemma’s lack of preparation was the fact that he refused to take any questions from the media in attendance. Ted Nesi noted

[Gemma] quickly got into his SUV and departed. A supporter criticized members of the media for following Gemma to ask questions, saying they’d “chased him away” from his kickoff event.

So here we have a Congressional candidate that can be “chased away” by a few local media members? I’ve met Nesi and Donnis and while they may be very scary characters (not really), I would think that if Gemma can’t take the heat of a couple questions from them, he may not quite be ready for the spotlight and the heat of the public scrutiny given to a Congressman.
We’ll have the next five months to see if he handles the media any better, and to see what those details are on creating jobs, making college more affordable and what is the new idea?

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joe bernstein
joe bernstein
9 years ago

Patrick-I believe Gemma is referring to Doherty’s original retirement from the RISP.
His resignation was after he had returned to the RISP as Superintendent after spending some time as Public Safety Director at Roger Williams College.
FWIW I retired 5 days after I was eligible-I was 50 years old,still banging down doors,and unlikely to ever be promoted above Senior Agent,so why stay?

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
9 years ago

BTW-Nesi and Donnis are good questioners and courteous-wait til he sits down with Taricani and Rapplye-those two take no prisoners-Rapplye has improved by woking with Taricani,who has a Mike Wallace style.

Max D
Max D
9 years ago

“(He) left public service as soon as he became eligible for his state pension. … Brendan Doherty lives in a public sector bubble.”
If you do the math, I think Doherty spent almost 25 years on his first bid. At the time, they were under the max 25 cap. His bid as colonel was another 4 years. Given his lack of support from progressives, I wonder if they will take him to task on his bad math. That would be a laugh.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
9 years ago

It’s delusional to think Gayvid is dropping out.
He has the solid support of the base of the Democrat party primary voters-marxists, communists, atheists, Brown kiddies, sodomites, cronies, Jews, East Siders, rich WASP’s and anchor babies.
Gemma can only win by running a blitzkreig attack campaign bringing the centrist and conservative majority of the district-white Catholics mostly-to a primary most would otherwise sit out.

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