Speed-Date Your Candidate

by by Marisa Calleja

Democratic Candidates
The Front Runner: Frank Caprio, General Treasurer
The son of a judge with a court show on the local ABC affiliate, Narragansett native Frank Caprio has spent his entire adult life in politics. He was elected a delegate to the 1988 Democratic National Convention while a senior at Harvard, where he majored in economics and had an illustrious athletic career in baseball and football. Later, as a law student, he commuted between class in Boston and legislative sessions in Providence during his two terms as a state representative. He was elected General Treasurer in 2006 after 13 years in the State Senate and has proved himself to be a skillful money manager, keeping the state pension fund healthy even in a tough economic climate.  A poll conducted by the Caprio campaign puts him 17 points above his Democratic rival, Patrick Lynch.

The Other Guy: Patrick C. Lynch, Attorney General
Lynch (B’87) may be down in the polls, but he could go toe-to-toe with Caprio in terms of Ivy-league background and athletic prowess; the Attorney General spent his post-Brown, pre-law school days playing professional basketball in Northern Ireland. Like Caprio, he comes from a well-known political family: his father was the mayor of Pawtucket and his brother is William J. Lynch, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Rhode Island and major contender for the congressional seat left open by Patrick Kennedy’s retirement. Patrick Lynch made a name for himself prosecuting organized crime (in Rhode Island, no less) and in private practice before getting elected as Attorney General in 2002. He is term-limited from serving as Attorney General again and announced his candidacy for governor last fall

Republican Candidates

The Front Runner: Joseph Trillo, State Representative
As a state representative serving Warwick, Trillo is also the House's deputy minority leader. He has not officially announced his candidacy, but he has launched an exploratory committee headed by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's political consultants. Outside the political arena, Trillo is a respected businessman who has worked in the security alarms business for over 40 years. With GOP heavy-hitters like Stephen Laffey out of the race, he is widely considered the best hope for the Republican nomination.

The Other Guy: John Robitaille, Communications Director for Governor Carcieri
Before going to work for Carcieri, Robitaille worked as president of the Perspective Communications Group, a video production and events management company. The only campaign he has run before was his unsuccessful bid to unseat incumbent State Representative Amy Rice in 2006, and he's never held public office. His candidacy for Governor is fairly surprising, considering that he once told The Providence Journal that he thinks he is “better fit to be in the communication field.”
raise the state’s sales tax, he is still considered one of the race’s top two contenders along with Caprio.

Independent Candidates

The Front Runner: Lincoln Chafee, former US Senator
Chafee (B’75) needs no introduction around these parts. He comes from one of the oldest families in New England and has a Rhode Island political pedigree that makes Caprio and Lynch look utterly unconnected. If elected Governor, he would be the fourth person in his family to hold the post. The former Warwick mayor first held state-wide office in 1999, when his father John died suddenly and Gov. Lincoln Almond appointed the younger Chafee to his father’s seat in the US Senate. As a senator, Chafee was a notorious RINO—Republican in name only—supporting gay rights and environmental regulations. Since being voted out of Congress in 2006, Chafee has worked as a visiting fellow at Brown’s Watson Institute for International Studies and campaigned for Barack Obama. Even though Chafee has come under fire for proposing to raise the state’s sales tax, he is still considered one of the race’s top two contenders along with Caprio.

The Other Guy: Todd Giroux, Bristol businessman
Giroux, a general contractor in Bristol, is new to the Rhode Island political arena. This aspiring governor has not received much coverage in the press, but on his website says he would work to “protect the economy and people of Rhode Island in every way possible.” At a Meet-the-Candidates forum last month he said that he supports health care reforms in Rhode Island.