The businessman's campaign was marked by absurd braggadocio — he declared at one point that the official announcement of his candidacy would "positively impact the political, economic, and cultural fates of Rhode Island and, by extension, the United States of America for the foreseeable future" — and unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud by Cicilline.

Gemma also bungled press relations and failed to run the sort of biting (and reasonably effective) attack ads he aimed at Cicilline in their 2010 tilt. Indeed, he didn't run any television ads at all.

If the candidate had been a bit humbler, a bit more conventional, he would have fared much better. But his biggest mistake was burying the obvious attack on his opponent: Cicilline, the former mayor of Providence, lied about the city's finances during the 2010 Congressional race and he'll lie to you again.

Cicilline's Republican opponent, Brendan Doherty, shows none of the same deficiencies: the day after the primary, he unveiled his Providence-focused "Top 10 List of David Cicilline's Most Serious Deceptions" and a tough-guy TV ad pledging to crack down on wasteful spending in Washington.

But he may suffer, a bit, from Gemma's brutal, incompetent swipes at Cicilline. The businessman managed to do something almost unthinkable a few months ago: turn the sitting congressman into a (somewhat) sympathetic figure.

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