Little would surprise me when it comes to former Providence Mayor and since 2010 congressman David Cicilline. But massive voter fraud?

That’s what Cicilline’s Democratic primary challenger Anthony Gemma alleged at a press conference today.  Via The Providence Journal:

Congressional candidate Anthony Gemma alleged Wednesday that a private investigation has uncovered voter fraud linked to U.S. Rep. David N. Cicilline, his opponent in the upcoming September primary.

Gemma contends an investigation he initiated by retired state troopers found evidence of people being paid to vote for certain candidates, people voting multiple times at different voting places and people who impersonated other voters.

Speaking at an outdoor press conference near his headquarters, Gemma called Cicilline the “common denominator” through most of the evidence, some of which dates to 2002.

The findings, Gemma said, are not “run-of-the-mill dirty politics” or “gossip, but evidence of conduct that compromises the very core of our electoral process.”

Cicilline’s campaign characterized Gemma’s allegations as an “outrageous political stunt” with “not one shred of evidence.”

It seems that Gemma has more than “not one shred of evidence” but it’s unclear how much more.  Gemma says he has affidavits and had given the evidence to both state and federal authorities.

Here’s the press conference:

Extended: Anthony Gemma news conference

Republican Brendan Doherty, who is on our Operation Counterweight list (please donate here), is the former Superintendent of the State Police, and issued this statement:

“Having spent my entire adult life in law enforcement, I have learned the importance of knowing the facts and circumstances before reaching a conclusion,” Doherty said.

“In my years as a criminal investigator, I relied on objective facts rather than emotion or intuition. I trust that our law enforcement agencies will conduct a thorough and competent investigation.

“Fair and free elections are the cornerstone of the democratic process in America and there is nothing more important than protecting their integrity. Given the nature of these allegations and the fact that they involve a sitting Congressman, Rhode Islanders deserve an immediate, clear and truthful response from their elected representative. Regardless of the final outcome, these allegations cast a cloud of suspicion over the electoral process. I am running for Congress to replace this cloud with a proven model of leadership, honesty and integrity.”

“Cloud” is a good description for Cicilline.  He already was endangered because he lied about Providence’s finances during the 2010 election.

But I’m not sure how much more this hurts him, unless more facts come out.

The ethics cloud already is factored into the electorate.

If Ciciline wins, it will not be because people think he’s honest, it will be a combination of scaring Grandma half to death that Republicans will take her social security check from her hands then throw her off a cliff combined with promising federal cash to key constituent groups … basically the Obama playbook.

Doherty is running a Scott Brown-like campaign, including bringing in former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn and touting Doherty’s honesty and integrity: