Turns out I was right when I said there’s only one true Democrat running for General Treasurer.
Recently, I angered some people by declaring in RI Future and Progressive Charlestown that, among the three contenders for the Democratic Party’s endorsement for General Treasurer, only one – Seth Magaziner – was really and truly a Democrat.
I declared the other two – Frank Caprio and Ernie Almonte – to be impostors who, at best, deserved to be called DINOs (“Democrats in Name Only).
I noted that both men failed the state by taking no effective action to stop the state public pension crisis before it reached the critical point. Both men – Caprio as General Treasurer and Almonte as Auditor General – not only could have acted, but had the duty to do so.
I also catalogued the words and deeds of Caprio and Almonte that betrayed core Democratic principles and, in some instances, were dishonorable.
More than a few people criticized me for being too harsh. But, as events have shown, I was right.
On June 22, for no good reason, the Democratic State Convention party regulars voted overwhelmingly to follow instructions and endorse Frank Caprio.
The Convention majority seemed ready to overlook his terrible 2010 campaign, capped by Caprio telling President Barack Obama to “take his endorsement and shove it.”
As his tweet shows, Caprio remained angry at the President two years later, and seemed to want President Obama to lose his 2012 bid for re-election. I wonder if Caprio voted for Romney instead of the President.
There was willingness to ignore Caprio’s 2012 disaffiliation from the party and long delay in deciding to run for redemption as a Democrat. Those delegates seemed ready to ignore just about everything other than the orders they received from the Party leadership.
Caprio himself admitted during his acceptance speech at the convention that he did indeed screw up royally in the 2010 election and promised not to let the Party down again. It was all about him and his quest for validation. All very nice if being a bad campaigner was Caprio’s only offense.
But, as the days went by, we learned that not only did Caprio actively consider running as a Republican in 2010 before finally deciding to run as a conservative Democrat, but that he did it again in 2014!
He actually met with Republican Party leadership to discuss running on the Republican ticket in 2014 as well. Only later, months after declaring his intention to run, he re-affiliated as a Democrat and publicly said he was running as a Democrat. This was after his brother David became the pick to become new state Democratic Chair, providing Frank Caprio with a path of least resistance and the inside track to the perception of institutional forgiveness.
What kind of Democrat does this? And what kind of Democrats can ignore all these facts and back a guy like Frank Caprio for such an important job as general treasurer.
Ernie Almonte, erstwhile Democratic contender for general treasurer, isn’t any better than Caprio.
I called out Almonte for his failure to sound the alarm on the state pension system when he was Auditor General and I noted the terrible things Almonte said in 2012 right after he declared his intention to run for Governor in 2014. He was caught on video parroting Mitt Romney’s anti-working people screed and calling for broad cuts in Social Security and Medicare while preserving tax breaks for the rich.
It turns out that Ernie Almonte was also being approached by the Republican Party to run on their ticket for General Treasurer in 2014 while he was campaigning for the Party’s endorsement.
GOP State Chair Mark Smiley said the party even went so far as to hold a slot for Almonte right up until the declaration deadline for candidates. He said that the Republicans were a much better fit for Almonte. This may be the first time Smiley and I are agreed on a political question.
When declaration day came, Almonte filed his declaration as neither a Republican nor a Democrat and will instead run as an independent.
There is no candidate officially representing the GOP, but I think either Caprio or Almonte still fits that bill. Indeed, Almonte attended the GOP state committee meeting and, while not formally endorsed, Chairman Mark Smiley has said that Almonte is their candidate in the race and has the backing of GOP party leadership.
Almonte has already won the approval of famed Tea Party Republican Representative Doreen Costa.
If Caprio does manage to convince Democrat voters in the September primary to pick him over the true Democrat Seth Magaziner, that would set up a November battle between him and “independent” Republican-except-in-name Ernie Almonte that could look alarmingly like 2010.
Actually, a Caprio-Almonte battle in November could be even worse because then we would have two candidates who are all about ambition and their own reinvented identities, devoid of real ideas or principles, but all about denying their pasts and painting themselves as “nice guys” who understand and care about working families, all evidence to the contrary.
But there’s an alternative, and that’s Seth Magaziner.
Here’s a short list of reasons why Seth is the clear choice:
- Life-long Democrat
- Backing of state and national democrats such as Bill Clinton, Deval Patrick, Patrick Kennedy, Liz Roberts, TEN democratic city and town committees, the majority of labor unions to endorse thus far, RI-NOW…
- Activist investor who has proven he can beat the market while also standing up to big-banks to lower fees and fight predatory financial practices like systemic foreclosure.
- Only candidate in the race to have testified at the state and federal level about the dangers of predatory financial services such as payday lending and pawn shop check cashing.
There’s plenty of time between now and primary day in September for Democrats to come to their senses.