By Thomas Greenberg
Cranston Mayor and Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung spoke out this week in the wake of a Roger Williams University and WPRI-TV poll of Rhode Islanders which showed Fung trailed incumbent Governor Gina Raimondo by 2.6 percentage points.
He focused his comments on the theme of his campaign and the direction it is heading as the race for Governor gallops into the spring.
“With the poll results, I’m very happy to see that we’re winning big with independents, a significant part of the voting base,” he said. “I’m happy we’re getting our message out to all Rhode Islanders, which is about what we’ve done in Cranston.”
Fung said that he and his campaign team have been “disciplined” about getting their message out to the public, which is the message that success he’s had in Cranston will translate to a state level.
“[Our message] has been about Cranston and all the successes we’ve had there…we’ve got the right recipe to turn things around in Rhode Island,” he said. “Fixing our finances, focusing on our residents, focusing on our small businesses.”
The results of the poll are as follows: if the election were to be held today, Raimondo would have 38.2 percent while Fung would garner 35.6 percent, with independent Joe Trillo at 6.2 percent, and the rest divided among lesser known candidates. It also shows that if Republican candidate Patricia Morgan, the House minority leader, were to beat Fung in a primary and face Raimondo, the results would be 43.2 percent of the vote to 24.8 percent in favor of Raimondo.
Fung also said one of his takeaways from the poll was that Raimondo is “only” getting 63 percent of the Democratic vote and a “measly” 55 percent job approval rating. He said it’s “bad news for a Democratic governor in a very Democratic state” to get that kind of approval percentages.
He also took aim at the current Governor by saying that the state has “a spending problem.”
“What the Governor has done has failed the state by not fixing the messes she has personally created in Rhode Island,” he said.
He also said “many business owners are frustrated with getting beaten down and audits are running rampant.”
He said he also thought that the poll showed that he is the “only candidate” that can defeat Governor Raimondo in a gubernatorial election. He said the poll shows that Republican candidate Patricia Morgan, the House minority leader, “certainly can’t” and added that a vote for independent candidate Joseph Trillo would be a vote for the Governor.
In a statement, Trillo’s campaign team said this:
“Trillo believes that, among the other candidates for Governor, he is the only candidate that can truly effectuate the dramatic change that this state needs because of his forty five years as a small businessman and 16 years as a state representative. Trillo is the real fighter for the average taxpayer. Gina can't solve a problem and Alan is a weak leader.”
Fung said he and his campaign will continue to get their message out that the recipe he has created in Cranston for positive results will be applied at the state level if he wins. He said he’s become “more disciplined” since the last time he ran and is making sure that the central campaign message of using Cranston as a template gets out to the voters.
He pointed to Garden City and Chapel View as examples of the success the city has had by bringing in new developers, retailers, corporate headquarters like Alex and Ani, and restaurants without giving “one red cent of taxpayer dollars” to get them in.
“It’s definitely a dead-heat race, the poll is certainly good news at this point,” Fung said about the poll.
“It is clear that this is a two person race,” a statement from the Fung campaign said.