RE: The Senate District 29 “Bellwether”

Just a follow up on yesterday’s post regarding the Senate-29 Democratic primary race between incumbent Michael McCaffrey and challenger Lisa Pisaturo, which McCaffrey won by 6% in a low turnout election. A Pisaturo win would have undoubtedly been taken as a sign that the Rhode Island electorate was ready to embrace gay marriage. But what about a loss? It depended on the margin and turnout, I thought. Let’s see. Dan McGowan played it straight:

The Senate Judiciary chairman [McCaffrey] got his first real challenge in years, but was able to hold off Laura Pisaturo, who had strong backing from the marriage equality group, Fight Back RI.

David Scharfenberg:

Tonight’s Democratic primaries were not kind to gay marriage supporters, who claimed just one of six key state senate races….After tonight, then, it is hard to see a significant change in the balance of power in a state senate where about half of current members are opposed to gay marriage, a third are in support, and the rest are in the toss-up category…The only consolation for advocates is that none of the races – with the possible exception of Pisaturo’s challenge to state Senator Michael McCaffrey – can be read as a referendum on gay marriage, which was little mentioned on the campaign trail. Indeed, public polling suggests solid majority support for same-sex nuptials in Rhode Island, which bodes well in the long term.

So the results weren’t good for gay marriage advocates but that doesn’t matter because only one race (McCaffrey/Pisaturo) really highlighted it….and polling! Okay. Bob Plain went with the “noble loss” theme:

While both Lauara Pisaturo, of Warwick, and Bob DaSilva, of East Providence, lost, they both had strong showings and only lost to powerful incumbents by a total of of less than 300 votes. That doesn’t speak well for Michael McCaffrey or Dan DaPonte, who beat them, both who are committee chairmen and are in the good graces of leadership. Their votes may not change on marriage equality because of the nail-biting victories (though DaPonte was on the fence) others may swing once they see that even powerful incumbents can be vulnerable.

I’m sure they’re a-scared now. Interestingly, Plain didn’t talk much about how Pisaturo and the other hyped gay marriage candidates got substantial, late-in-the-game funding from what is essentially a one-man evil–no it’s not, it’s for a progressive cause! Super-PAC, as reported by Scharfenberg:

Tim Gill, a reclusive technology magnate from the Centennial State, is the leading figure in a nationwide network of gay rights activists who have been funding state-level legislative races for years now in a bid to tip the balance on same-sex marriage and other gay rights issues. He recently poured $20,000 into a group called People for Rhode Island’s Future that is backing six pro-gay marriage state senate candidates.

Finally, Warwick Beacon reporter Kim Kalunian tweeted this from Pisaturo’s concession speech:”fear and hate…put into people’s minds on marriage equality” created a “backlash”.
Conclusion? While six gay marriage supporting Democrats received funds from a single-issue Super PAC, only Pisaturo’s race (and maybe DaSilva’s) was actually a referendum on gay marriage. Their close losses prove that powerful, connected pro-union but socially conservative politicians–who rely on “fear and hate”–should be on the lookout next time around. Got it?

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9 years ago

I’m actually surprised that this isn’t being played out as a referendum against the voters of the state. We hear that the Republicans have so much “hate”. So why don’t we hear the same about the voters of RI? Why do the voters of RI hate equal rights? Why do they hate people who just want to live happily together?
It’ll all ramp up again as there will be some pro-SSM candidates who still need to win in November to make a difference. Up in my district, Pearson vs. Moura will be one. We’ll see how that one plays out in conservative-leaning Cumberland.

9 years ago

Q: What do you call those who graduated at the bottom of their medical school class?
A: Doctor.
Q: What do you call those who won by “less than 300 votes”?
A: Representative.

Sammy in Arizona
Sammy in Arizona
9 years ago

Hopefully Anchor Rising’s resident expert on “all things gay” Tommy Cranston will be along
with his opinion on the true ramifications of this very important primary election. And to remind us “again” that gay folks in conservative hell holes around the world are either jailed, stoned or executed

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
9 years ago

Here in Cranston the pro real marriage Lombardi wiped the floor with his fake marriage supporter the “Reverend” (UCC-LOL) Gene Dyleski 3-1.
Coupled with the loss of the fake marriage crowds 2 “bellwether” races results seem to show that those opposing real marriage should be asking “For Whom Does The Bell Toll”? Too bad, so sad…
See ya’ in 2014!

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
9 years ago

sammy’s problem is likely that he feels guilty about not being gay or a “minority”so he channels one on a blog-like those Philip & Jorge clowns in the Phoenix

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