Watching the Wheels
So far, the Silly Season campaign that has me the most curious from a strategic point of view is that of Brett Smiley, Democratic candidate for mayor of Providence.
Smiley faces a September 9th primary against five, count em', five other candidates yet Smiley seems fixed on Independent candidate Buddy Cianci since the Bud-Eye filed his papers last week.
In seven days, Smiley has challenged Cianci to a debate on ethics in government, gotten retired Pro-Jo political reporter M Charles Bakst out of mothballs to back him against “criminal Cianci” and called on Buddy to take two “good government pledges” by refusing city employee donations and keeping the city’s promises to retirees.
Why is Smiley seemingly looking past the September 9th primary and heading directly towards GO and the general election?
Of the five other Democratic candidates, two must be taken very seriously. City Council President Michael Solomon has enough dough to run a very solid primary campaign, is deeply rooted from a political pedigree and is a relentless campaigner behind the scenes.
Perennial candidate Chris Young might be a quirky guy but he’s shown in elections past he can garner enough votes that his efforts can’t be labeled dismissible. The other two, Reinaldo Cantone and Dominique Gregoire may not even generate the 500 signatures needed to be on the ballot. Solomon had little to say about Cianci’s entry into the race, instead deciding to sell HIS positives and not dwell on the stains on Buddy’s jacket.
Young actually said Buddy brings excitement to the debate dance. Is Smiley’s strategy that of showing voters he’s not afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? That he’s the candidate NOT intimidated by the side of Buddy Judge Ernest Torres described as Mr Hyde during the Plundedome sentencing of 2002? Only his campaign manager knows for sure.