State GOP chair says Block should exit race

Ken Block

Many Republicans in Rhode Island blame Moderate Party founder Ken Block for independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee's win over Republican John Robitaille in the four-way race for governor in 2010.

Block is running again in 2014, but so far he hasn't said whether he'll run as a Moderate, a Republican, a Democrat or an independent.

Mark Smiley, the new chairman of the state Republican Party shared his thoughts Friday on a taping of "10 News Conference."

"I don't think he stands a chance as a Moderate, and he ought to step out of the race entirely. But if he's going to run, let's keep it so the Democrats aren't automatically going to win because you're in the race," Smiley said.

Smiley said he hasn't talked with Block, but he said he wouldn't be surprised if the Moderate Party founder runs as a Republican in a primary against likely GOP candidate, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung.

Fung is raising money, but not as fast as Democrats Angel Taveras and Gina Raimondo.

Smiley said Fung has the ability to raise enough money to be a viable gubernatorial candidate next year.

"The bar is a lot lower than it seems. Gina Raimondo has already passed the matching funds, so she's on her own. Mayor Fung can raise up to $750,000 and get matching funds, and that will make him competitive," Smiley said.

Smiley said the party has beefed up its ability to get out the vote with a new phone bank and social media outreach.