Some Rhode Islanders, at least some registered Republicans and unaffiliateds, have received a mailer “Paid for by the Rhode Island Democratic State Committee.” Presumably, it’s an attack mailer to dissuade Democrats from voting for the independent gubernatorial candidate Joe Trillo, but it sure doesn’t look like an attack:
The huge color mailer certainly links Trillo with President Trump. The text on the back reads:
Same Policies, Same Priorities.
In the 2016 Republican primary for President, Joe Trillo was Donald Trump’s campaign chairman right here in Rhode Island.
Now Trillo’s running for Governor.
He’s a strong supporter of the President, and Trillo even said he is running on “Trumpian policies,” promising to work with President Trump to bring his priorities to Rhode Island.
But nowhere does it say that those policies are bad. Nowhere do we get the fear mongering that we would expect if the Democrats wanted to bring Trillo down. In fact, without the “paid for by” disclaimer, one might assume that candidate Trillo had sent the flier. The language is generally positive, if you take out the insinuations one expects it would have for Democrats.
So, why would a party spend money mailing big fliers to members of the other party in order to knock down a long-shot independent candidate whose most likely effect is to draw votes away from that other party’s candidate? Well, the answer is in the question. The Democrats want to remind Trump supporters that Trillo is the most Trumpy guy, not Allan Fung.
In other words, one could argue that this mailing should be reported on Trillo’s campaign finance reports as an in-kind contribution.