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BREAKING: Block, First GOP Candidate Comes Out for DePetro’s Firing

Friday, December 13, 2013


Ken Block, GOP candidate for Governor, today announced his support for the union-driven effort to force WPRO to fire controversial talk show host John DePetro.

The decision by Block is just the latest in a growing list of political 2014 candidates.

Earlier this week, GoLocalProv was first to report that Governor Lincoln Chafee called for DePetro's firing.

Block, the founder of the Moderate Party and now Republican candidate for Governor - is the first GOP candidate to join the chorus to fire DePetro.

Statement from Block

"As a husband and father, I deplore the insensitivity and mean spirit displayed by John DePetro, and I believe he should have no place on the airwaves in Rhode Island," Block said. "Therefore, I will decline to appear WPRO as long as John DePetro remains employed by the station."

"Helen Glover, Dan Yorke, Matt Allen and many others have delivered conservative viewpoints to their listeners without using vulgar words," Block said. "You don't need name-calling to make a compelling argument, and there is no place on the Rhode Island airwaves for discourse that disgusts." 

Related Slideshow:
10 Questions Block Has to Answer When Running for Gov of RI

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10. Can Block convince voters he is more than a third party player?


To win in the GOP primary, Block is going to need to convince GOP primary voters that his ideals align with the fundamental beliefs of the Republican Party. 


He did get a political gift.  As GoLocalProv reported - Blocks opponent in the GOP primary, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung has been a consistent donor for a decade to many of the top Democrats in the Party.


Both Block and Fung will be challenged to explain their GOP credentials.

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9. Is Block too much of a techno-candidate?


Block, the founder of a software company, love to talk about technology solutions to public policy problems. He is going to have to define his solutions to problems in a tangible way.  Often, voters connect to simple themes, "Hope and Change" or from "Head Start to Harvard." 


Block is going to need to be able to show he can connect to all Rhode Islanders - we are a retail political state.

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8. Can Block raise money?


Block has demonstrated he is serious about running - he has already invested $500,000 of his own money to win the GOP primary, but he will need an estimated $3 million to win the primary and General Election next November.


To date, his fundraising base has been small and while Fung is no Gina Raimondo in fundraising, he does have a modest Republican fundraising base.

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7. Will Block defend the behavior of National Republicans?


If 15 months from now Ted Cruz works tirelessly to close the federal government over the implementation of Obamacare, will GOP Governor Ken Block speak out on the issue? 


Will Block praise or criticize Cruz? In the primary, conservative voters may want him to praise Cruz and in the General election, the majority of voters may want him to condemn Cruz.

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6. Can Block attract RI GOP leaders?


A few weeks ago Fung announced an advisory group of prominent Republicans.  The announcement gave Fung's efforts some momentum. Block would pick up a lot of credibility if he were to peel some Fung supporters over to his team.


In addition, a number of leading Republicans have yet to make an announcement - if they break to Block it may create momentum.

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5. Can Block connect with voters in the General Election?


Assuming Block beat Fung in a GOP primary and went on to face a progressive Democrat like Providence Mayor Angel Taveras or rising star Clay Pell, can Block work the Greek Festival in Cranston or the Scituate Art Festival as well as these Democrats?


Will undecided voters connect to Block?

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4. Will Block's lack of previous elected office help or hinder?


It can be argued that never having been elected before could be perceived as a negative.


Sure, Governor Don Carcieri was never previously elected to office and Governor Bruce Sundlun had only been elected to the state's Constitutional Congress, but voters may want to be sure that Block will know a federal emergency declaration from a new software version - or will each new storm be deemed Sandy 2.0 and so on.

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3. Is Block the smartest guy in the room?


Make no mistake about it, Block is smart. Business smart, policy smart, but could he be too smart and then not be able to connect to voters.


Bill Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar (so was Gina Raimondo), but one thing about Bill Clinton was that he could play the role of a good ol' boy as good as anyone. He could make any voter feel right at home.


Block will need to channel his intelligence into a language and approach that connects to the CEO he is asking to support his effort as equally as asking a unemployed mom in Pawtucket.

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2. How will he handle the plethora of special interests?


This time Block will have to answer the questionnaire from the FOP, the Right-to-Life groups, the Environment Council, MADD, the Teamsters, The Northern RI Chamber of Commerce, NEA-RI, arts advocacy groups, the NAACP, and you get the picture.


Consistency will matter. One group's endorsement will spark another groups condemnation. Mr. Block, welcome to the 2014 governor's race.

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1. Can he handle the hot lights?


The one thing about being the third or fourth candidate in a race is people remember the smart things you said, but don't pay much attention to the dumb things you said. Heck, you really didn't have a real chance to win so the assessment is not very stringent.


This time will be different. He needs to run not one but two nearly flawless races to be the next Governor of Rhode Island. His effort in 2010 will help him, but this time he has a real chance to win and the stakes are much higher


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George McDonald

I would find all of this more interesting and meaningful if the group behind all of this "For Our Daughters" would condemn all hateful speech, including Mr. Bashir, Rush Limbaugh, etc. This seems like a personal vendetta, and one politicians should stop pandering about. Let's let the radio station handle it's own personal affairs.

Brandon Hawk

100% agreed George. Politicians should stay the hell out of a business's matters. 630 WPRO should do the right thing, despite what these pandering scheme artists say.

Block makes me hurl in my mouth with this attempt to get press coverage.

George McDonald

No kidding. If he really meant it, he would've said it 3 weeks ago when it actually happened. Just following everyone else. So disappointing.

john paycheck

unemployment over 9% for 5 years, projected $350 million state deficit in 2016-2017.

and our fearless leaders are worried about a talk show host.

everyone of them just lost my vote.

as for block----the moderate man, republican or whatever he is..... will never get gop votes.. he ruined john robataille's shot last time.
he must be nuts if he thinks mainstream gopers will vote for him.

James Berling

Well, we now know where Mr. Block stands on John DePetro.

But what are Mr. Block’s ideas to solve RI’s pressing problems? Does he favor a Constitutional Convention in RI to weaken the power of the General Assembly? I’m convinced that the all-powerful General Assembly is the greatest liability in this state. Let’s give more power to the office of Governor. The Governor is more conspicuous. What he does is noticed. It is too easy for a member of the General Assembly to hide in the crowd, take the bribe and vote irresponsibly.

Does Block favor Voter Initiative for RI so that citizens could collect enough signatures and put propositions on the ballot for voters to decide? Now there are issues that the voters in this state would pass but the General Assembly won’t allow to be discussed.

How would Block address our crisis relating to unfunded pension liabilities in this state?

How would Block address the RI’s destructively high taxes?

Let WPRO decide what to do with their employees. That’s their job. If you want to be Governor—a leader—a problem solver, then do it.

Art West

Agreed. Political leaders (and candidates) have no business using their position to denounce an employee of a business. It's petty and inappropriate. Politicians should be focused on carrying out the duties they were elected to do. If they want to sign a petition or something, go for it -- as private citizens.

Walter Miller

I'm no fan of politicians pandering to any special interest groups, especially the teachers union gang. Without question, DePetro went too far with his remarks. Quite simply, they were rude and unnecessarily personal. That being said, he has apologized (finally).

I agree with those who feel this is a matter for the WPRO management to decide. They knew when they brought DePetro back to RI that he could be controversial. He's lived up to that reputation.

Regarding Mr. Block, I respected his attempts to create a Moderate Party. God knows we need a choice between the lost and confused Republicans and the arrogant and incestuous Democrats.
However, he lost all credibility with me when he quickly abandoned that effort after one attempt at public office. Unfortunately, I think he's gotten caught up in his 15 minutes of fame. His decision to suddenly become a Republican is laughable. Regardless of how he makes out in that effort, I will not vote for him simply because I believe he is an opportunist.

Scott Dickerson

Anyone can make the decision to distance themselves from this type of behavior, even politicians. Instead of bashing Republicans, how about focusing on the real problem in RI? The Democrats are the problem and it will take Republicans to solve it.

G Godot

I don't listen to Depetro, but I heard the same sort of stuff from AL Gore's "Scare America" before IT went belly up. Since those stooges bashed only folks right of center no one is this sinkhole of a one party state raised an objection. Methinks a little bit of "kill the messenger" is going on here and THAT is always dangerous.

G Godot

Block, BTW has TWO chances at being governor, and that's "Slim", on the horse, leaving town.

Anthony Giusti

I rarely listen to DePetro but the people who are demanding that he get off the airwaves are just pawns of the unions. Aren't they smart enough to see that this whole thing is fake; it is just another example of unions muscling in to decide who will speak and who will not. Say what you want about DePetro, but he is one of the few voices speaking about issues such as Providence being a sanctuary city. If you don't like his show, don't listen... but giving the unions power to censor who is on the radio is not the right way to go.

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