Cicilline has denied any involvement in a voter fraud scheme and kept his campaign focused on similar themes -- infrastructure and opposition to the war in Afghanistan -- as in his first run for Congress. And recent polling suggests that he could weather the storm. A WPRI poll released at the end of August showed Cicilline leading Gemma 43 percent to 31 percent, outside the poll's margin of error. But the poll was conducted before Gemma's voter fraud allegations were announced. Still, leading Rhode Island Democrats -- including Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and ex-Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who is quoted in a Cicilline ad -- have reaffirmed their support for Cicilline, as has independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee.
After winning his mayoral election by a landslide, Cicilline only narrowly won in 2010 election, in large part because voters tied him to Providence's budget deficit, the size of which he underestimated to voters. That attack would plague him in this general election, too, as Doherty has already accused Cicilline of misleading city residents. Doherty would also bring a cash advantage to that matchup; he had about $609,000 on hand compared with to Cicilline's $483,000 as of August 22.