Former state Rep. Joe Trillo (R) announced on Tuesday that he will leave the party and run for governor as an independent. “Trillo said he believes ‘the best way to fix’ Rhode Island is to get himself on the ballot in November as an option for all voters.”
Trillo: “I feel that my message is more of a populist message. … To win with my message in Rhode Island, I will need Democratic support, a lot of independent support, and Republicans. … Rhode Island will have a choice between insiders and an outsider who is beholden to no special interests but who has the experience and popular vote to change our broken system. … What matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.”
He said if he elected he would reduce taxes, shrink state government by attrition, “protecting teachers from legal abuse from instilling discipline,” enable police, invest in infrastructure.
Trillo distinguished the state Republican Party from “Trump Republicans” who are more “moderate” and “populist” and said he would work to “drain the Rhode Island swamp.” (WPRO)
Trillo’s “past affiliation with Trump leads some Democrats to see his independent run as a benefit for” Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) “in what is expected to be a bruising re-election campaign. The thinking is that Trump is more likely to get support from Republicans and conservative independents, helping to carve up the gubernatorial vote. That’s significant since Raimondo won her first term as governor in 2014 with 40.7 percent of the vote, compared with 36.2 percent for” Cranston Mayor Allan Fung (R) “and a surprising 21.4 percent for independent Robert Healey. Healey has since died. Some Republicans also see Trillo’s move as a benefit for Raimondo.” (RIPR)
THE OTHER REPUBLICAN SEEKING DEMOCRATIC SUPPORT. “Longtime Rhode Island fundraiser Dee Dee Witman has signed on to help … Fung. … Whitman led fundraising for Buddy Cianci’s unsuccessful 2014 [Providence] mayoral campaign, although she’s better known for working with Democrats like Richard Licht, on a 1988 U.S. Senate run, and Joseph R. Paolino Jr., on a gubernatorial campaign in 1990. She was close to Mark Weiner, the influential RI Democrat who died in July 2016.” (RIPR)