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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Charlestown solicitor Craven listed among 10 challengers most likely to win in November

Craven-Ehrhardt contest might produce an upset
Bob Craven and Rep. Larry Ehrhardt
By Will Collette

Charlestown’s Town Prosecutor and Assistant Solicitor Bob Craven’s campaign to win the House District 32 seat in North Kingstown was listed in GoLocalProv’s new rankings of races where the incumbent is most vulnerable

Craven, a Democrat, is taking on incumbent Republican Larry Ehrhardt, who squeaked out a primary win against a strong GOP-backed challenger. Now Ehrhardt faces Bob in a race where Bob Craven has strong party backing, while Ehrhardt does not.

Former oil man Ehrhardt has devoted most of his legislative career to working on Quonset Point development which has won him support in his district in the past but may be less important to the new voters who were redistricted into the 32nd.

For his part, Craven sent a mailing to every household in the 32nd District making the case for his election:

I am running for State Representative for District 32 because I believe that we need new leadership to tackle the serious economic challenges facing Rhode Island….

I have been a resident of North Kingstown for over 40 years. I graduated from the
University of Rhode Island and went on to law school at New England School of Law.
Prior to opening my own small business here in North Kingstown, I was an Assistant Attorney General and a member of the North Kingstown Town Council. My wife, Susan, and I are proud to have raised our two sons- Rob and Joe- in North Kingstown….

Rhode Island, once a leader in manufacturing and exporter of goods sold around
the world, now exports only its talented young people. That is because the opportunities that were available to me and my generation after college and law school do not exist in abundance anymore. For countless young people, Rhode Island is becoming an increasingly unattractive place to settle down, get a job, raise a family, and to call it home….

This is why my top priority as your State Representative will be to get Rhode
Islanders working again. As I have been speaking with
friends and neighbors who own businesses, I have found that they are looking for a helping hand and not a hand out. 

As your Representative and fellow business owner, I’ll fight to make that happen. 

Rather than giving large tax breaks or a sweetheart deal to a single company like 38 Studios, I will fight to invest in the small and medium sized businesses that are already here and are the key to our future. As your Representative, I will work to ensure that these businesses can expand and help grow Rhode Island’s economy again….

My vision for Rhode Island is that it becomes a place where we hold the line on property taxes, create new jobs, strengthen our schools, improve our infrastructure, and deliver the nation’s best health care.  I know that together, we can continue making our town and state a place that we are all proud to call home.

Winning against any incumbent is a challenge, especially one with a long career like Larry Ehrhardt. One of the main reasons Ehrhardt’s on the vulnerable list is that he had promised to retire this year and had promised to help one of his fellow Republicans hold his seat. But when Ehrhardt went back on that promise, the woman who was his anointed heir won local party support and almost beat him in the primary, giving Bob Craven a unique opportunity to oust the incumbent.

Dickenson in tough re-election fight

Spencer Dickenson
A tough primary also put the only other South County incumbent on GoLocalProv’s endangered list. That’s Rep. Spencer Dickenson (D), who represents House District 35, immediately neighboring Charlestown. 

Spencer eked out a slim victory over his Democratic primary challenger, former South Kingstown Town Council member Kathy Fogarty. That primary got very ugly and leaves Spencer vulnerable to defeat from perennial challenger James Haldeman (R).

Haldeman has run for this seat every two years since the world was young, each time getting a little closer. After Spencer’s bruising primary, he could be vulnerable this time around, although a tough primary can sometimes make a candidate even stronger (think David Cicilline).