Anthony Gemma says he’ll detail alleged voter fraud next week

Anthony Gemma says he’ll level a serious accusation next week.

A somewhat cryptic press advisory issued Thursday morning by Gemma’s otherwise quiet campaign announced he will hold a press conference next Wednesday at noon at his Providence headquarters to “discuss specifics regarding why his campaign hired a private investigation firm to look into voter fraud.”

“Mr. Gemma will also discuss how investigating voter fraud revealed other potential criminal actions by David Cicilline and his associates,” the statement continued. “The investigation has now attracted the attention of several federal authorities.” Gemma will be joined by his legal counsel at the event, the advisory said.

Cicilline campaign manager Eric Hyers quickly hit back. “If Anthony Gemma has something to say or an accusation to make he needs to say it now and show whatever proof he claims he has,” Hyers told “This is a desperate and outrageous stunt; he ought to put up or shut up today.”

A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha’s office declined to comment.

Shortly before the press advisory went out, Gemma apparently previewed it in a Twitter post: “Be prepared for breaking news that will have an immediate, stunning, game-changing impact on Rhode Island politics. Dark days soon will end.”

The advisory comes the same week embattled state Rep. Leo Medina leveled his own voter fraud charges during an interview on WPRO. In February, state Rep. Anastasia Williams told The New Republc she’d seen examples of voter fraud, too, singling out a large Hispanic man she said is nicknamed “El Macho.” Both Medina and Williams are Providence Democrats. Rhode Island has a new voter ID law taking effect this year.

Political observers have been mystified by the campaign being run by Gemma, who trailed Cicilline by four points in a May WPRI 12 poll. He’s purchased almost no advertising and made few high-profile public appearances as Cicilline, who beat him in 2010, continued to ramp up his campaigning. Gemma’s social media footprint has also been questioned.

Gemma and Cicilline will face off Aug. 28 in a televised debate on WPRI 12 ahead of the Sept. 11 primary.

Update: RIFuture flags a longer statement from Gemma on his Facebook page:

Be prepared for breaking news that will have an immediate, stunning, game-changing impact on Rhode Island politics. It will make national headlines. Lives will be changed profoundly – and mostly for the better. Yes, the news will upset us and challenge us. It will require us to tap deep resources of personal strength and to be outraged by the manner in which we have been governed for years. But we are strong. And we are patriots who will realize that it is not our system of government that is corrupt, but only those who have abused the system in support of their hideous personal agendas. We will survive this, and emerge stronger than ever. And through it all, I will be there for you.

• Related: Anthony Gemma discloses more than $3M in personal wealth (Aug. 15)

Tim White contributed to this report. This post has been updated and expanded.

  • Nancy

    Who is advising this guy? These teasing PR games – in politics especially – easily backfire. Instead of building excitement and interest, it quickly becomes *yawn* OK, Anticlimactic-Anthony.

  • M. Charles Bakst

    I think “Nancy” raises an interesting point, but why won’t she give us her full name? Why does your web site allow anonymous people to take potshots? M. Charles Bakst

    • Mario

      Is this kind of cranky, single-issue, off-topic post going to be a weekly feature now? Is there any reason beyond needing ammunition to commit an ad hominem fallacy for demanding full disclosure for public comment instead of simply arguing on the merits? Is there a reason why its always a Cicilline-related blog entry? Are you in favor of laws forcing journalists to reveal anonymous sources?

      • M. Charles Bakst

        Dear “Mario”:
        I view these as separate issues. Reporters sometimes need to rely on unattributed sources in order to gather important information – facts – for readers. I thinkthat’s a lot different from allowing cowardly folks to spew venomous opinions under the cloak of anonymity.
        Best regards,
        M. Charles Bakst

    • Mr B

      You may be onto something M Charles. Let’s take it a step further. When you call a talk radio show, leave your name and number. Have the station call you back and confirm you before your allowed on:)

  • Jake

    Smart of Mr. Gemma to bring his legal counsel, but his track record suggests the event will never occur.

  • Richard

    Gemma apparently taped these individuals. The question is: did he use the mobile video van that the Champlin Foundations funded to help the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation tape the stories of breast cancer survivors. Use of the foundation’s resources for a political purpose would certainly violate the foundation’s not-for-profit, 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt status, as well as call into question Anthony Gemma’s lack of understanding of such boundaries.

  • Scott McKay

    M. Charles,

    Can you please define “anonymous” on the internet for us? Especially with regard to message boards and comment sections. Please discuss what “identity” means, especially with regard to authentication.

    Best Regards,
    Scott McKay

  • TPM

    I think Anthony Gemma is delusional is he thinks an Eric Holder run Justice Department is interested in prosecuting voter fraud.

  • Preparing for Gemma’s ballyhooed press conference | Blogs

    […] Nobody knows exactly what Anthony Gemma will say at his noon press conference today, which is part of why Rhode Island’s political class is fairly riveted by the looming spectacle. The Democratic congressional candidate has already made clear it will involve allegations of voter fraud. […]

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