- Associated Press - Saturday, October 25, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Outside money is flooding the governor’s race, and the candidates are preparing to debate a few more times before Election Day. Here are a few things to know this week in Rhode Island:


Democrat Gina Raimondo, Republican Allan Fung and Moderate Party candidate Robert Healey have several more debates scheduled in the final week of the campaign. The candidates will meet Tuesday night at Roger Williams University in Bristol for a debate that is being aired live on WLNE-TV. They’ll meet again on Thursday night at Rhode Island College for a debate being televised on WJAR-TV. The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce is holding a candidate forum Friday morning, the last time the three are expected to appear together before Election Day.


Independent groups are pouring more and more money into the governor’s race. The Mid America Fund disclosed $557,000 in spending to defeat Raimondo. The Ohio-based group is funded by the Republican Governors Association, which donated $125,000, and the Government Integrity Fund, which gave $435,000. Another group, the Alliance for a Better Rhode Island, is running negative ads against Fung, the GOP nominee and Cranston mayor. The Democratic Governors Association has contributed $469,000 to that effort, while Women Vote, which is affiliated with EMILY’s List, has contributed $250,000.


The Rhode Island video journalist who contracted Ebola while working in Liberia is now free of the disease and back home in Providence. Ashoka Mukpo, who was working as a freelance cameraman for NBC and other media outlets, was released from the Nebraska Medical Center’s biocontainment unit Wednesday and flew home by private charter with his father and girlfriend. Mukpo called it a “truly humbling feeling” to recover from Ebola. “Too many are not as fortunate and lucky as I’ve been,” the 33-year-old said in a statement. “I’m very happy to be alive.”


Prominent developer Richard Baccari and his company, Churchill & Banks, were found not guilty of bribing several town councilmen in North Providence to ease the way to build a supermarket. A jury returned the verdicts Thursday on charges of bribery and conspiracy. Prosecutors say Baccari paid $50,000 to three town councilmen in 2009 so they would approve a zoning change. His lawyer on the project delivered the money. Baccari’s defense attorney argued he was the victim of a shakedown and that the councilmen, whom he called “jackals,” extorted him. The councilmen pleaded guilty in the case and are in prison. His former lawyer was found guilty and is also serving time.


The state’s unemployment rate of 7.6 percent remains the third highest rate in the country. Federal officials recently reported the September rates for all 50 states showing that Georgia’s 7.9 percent rate was highest, followed by Mississippi’s 7.7 percent rate. The Rhode Island rate for September was considered unchanged after the August figure was revised downward by one-tenth of 1 point. The national unemployment rate is 5.9 percent.



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