To the Editor:
Voters beware! There are two Trojan horses running in general assembly races in Warwick and Cranston. These two candidates' apparent intent is to deceive voters and pull votes away from legitimate candidates.
In Warwick's House District 21 there are three candidates - Democrat Camille Vella-Wilkinson, independent Michael Underwood, and Trojan horse "Republican" Michael Penta.
As early as March of 2016, Republican leaders asked Penta if he intended to run for the District 21 seat. He emphatically responded that he was not. In May he repeated that he would not run. Independent candidate Michael Underwood, on the other hand, intended to run all along and promised to caucus with the house Republicans. Thus, Republican leadership supported him.
In an obvious attempt to pull votes away from Underwood, Penta decided to run after all. So, what's wrong with his running? He clearly has no intention to "compete" with Vella-Wilkinson. In fact, he admits that he is "very good friends" with Vella-Wilkinson. They're such good friends that he attended her campaign kick-off event and donated money to her campaign. Clearly, he is not a serious candidate. His reason for running seems obvious - act as a Trojan horse and take votes away from Underwood. In essence, to split the non-Democrat votes so that Vella-Wilkinson easily wins.
In Cranston's House District 15, currently held by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, there are also three candidates competing for the seat - Democrat Mattiello, Republican Steven Frias and Independent Patrick Vallier. Once again, there is a Trojan horse in the race - Vallier. He's in the race simply to take votes from Frias so Mattiello will win.
When questioned about his reason for running, Vallier said, "I'm not running against Mattiello. I'm not running against anyone." So, obviously his heart is not in the race.
When asked whether there is anything Mattiello has done that he'd do differently, he replied, "Not really."
When asked the top three things he'd like to do in the legislature, he was stumped. "Ooh. That's a tough one," he replied.
Here's a candidate who's "not running against Matiello," the powerful incumbent, who says there's nothing he'd do differently than Mattiello, and who thinks it's "...a tough one" to answer what he'd do in the General Assembly. That clearly describes a non-candidate who is in the race simply to serve as a Trojan horse and split the non-Democratic votes to ensure Mattiello wins.
There are enough political games played in our little state already. Let's not fall for the Trojan horse trap that pseudo-candidates Penta and Vallier are presenting. If Vella-Wilkinson and Mattiello need the help of these secret confederates to siphon votes from their real opponents, neither deserves to win.