PROVIDENCE — The behind-the-scenes maneuvering among potential candidates for the soon-to-be-open congressional seat for U.S. Representative Jim Langevin kicked into high gear over the weekend.
On Sunday night, three of Dan McKee’s announced challengers in the gubernatorial race issued statements saying they were not changing their minds and instead running for Congress, although state treasurer Seth Magaziner let the open door by adding: not “for the moment”.
Before that happened, Democratic Party sources told the Journal:
Magaziner, the fundraising leader in the gubernatorial race, reportedly made a series of calls to his supporters saying he was indeed shifting gears and running for Congress. (The magazine did not deny the report.)
Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea and her team reportedly did everything possible to enlist Magaziner’s supporters in her campaign for governor. (Gorbea spokeswoman Dana Walton confirms, “As the rumors piled up and we received persistent reports of him possibly quitting the gubernatorial race, she called a few people asking for their support s ‘he was making the jump to Congress.’)
And former CVS executive Helena Buonano Foulkes – whose family has a long-standing relationship with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — resisted calls from top-ranked party leaders to run for Congress, instead of governor. (Foulkes did not deny the report.)
The good, the bad, the memorable: An exit interview with U.S. Representative Jim Langevin
Amid all the frantic activity, House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi reportedly received a call from “the White House” urging him to reconsider his own reported decision to forgo running for the Second Congressional District seat. by Langevin. others know the situation.
On Monday, the list of potentially high-profile Democratic candidates was constantly changing, with outgoing state health director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott being mentioned by The Public’s Radio as a potential nominee.
She did not personally confirm the report, but released this statement: “I am currently considering a number of different options after my departure from the Department that would allow me to continue working to give all people and all communities an equal chance to be healthy and prosper.
And that’s how Monday started, in a whirlwind of rumors about who got in and who got out.
What do we know?
Which Republicans are running for the seat of Rhode Island’s House
On the Republican side, former Rep. Robert Lancia, who garnered 41.5% of the vote when he ran against Langevin in 2020, is running again.
State Senator Jessica de la Cruz, who lives in North Smithfield, just outside the 2nd Congressional District, confirmed Sunday night, “I’m showing up for CD2.”
A big unknown: Whether former Republican Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, who carried the 2nd Borough in his first gubernatorial run against Gina Raimondo in 2014, and got closer in 2018, will run for the seat open.
His victories include Cranston, which has the second-largest voter pool in the district, which is West of the Bay and includes part of Providence, all of South County and Kent County, and includes eight towns who opted for Donald Trump in the last presidential election: Burrillville, Coventry, Johnston, Scituate, Glocester, Hopkinton, Exeter and Foster.
“I’m looking at the whole chessboard and I’ll take some time to really think about this race,” Fung told the Journal last week.
Which Democrats are running for Rep. Jim Langevin’s seat?
On the Democratic side, Omar Bah, founder and CEO of the Refugee Dream Center, became the first candidate to declare himself for the race on Saturday.
“The main reason is that I want to bring a diverse identity to politics,” said Bah – a former African journalist who came to Rhode Island as a refugee, founded a local organization that helps refugees and later became a psychologist. – the newspaper.
He was joined on Monday by former chairman and Democratic state party representative Edwin Pacheco.
“This is a pivotal moment in the history of our country,” Pacheco wrote in a press release. “Every day we feel more separated and the very fabric of our democracy is under attack.”
Who says they don’t run
The list of prominent candidates who say they are not running for the seat includes Shekarchi, Magaziner, Gorbea, Foulkes, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and former state police superintendent. Brendan Doherty, who once ran for Congress as a Republican.
On Sunday evening, Foulkes issued this statement: “Over the past few days I have been overwhelmed by the number of phone calls I have received from Democrats in Rhode Island asking me to consider running for Congress.
Shekarchi: ‘No intention’ of running for Langevin’s seat in Congress
“I share their commitment to electing a strong Democratic candidate to serve our second congressional district and I will do everything in my power to make that happen, but I will not be running for Congress myself.
“I am running for governor because I believe my leadership and leadership experience will allow me to get things done for Rhode Islanders. This is the role where I can have the most impact in improving people’s lives. and unleash the incredible potential of our state.”
Gorbea posted on Twitter, “I remain committed to…joining our federal delegation as the next state governor.”
Magaziner left the door ajar with this statement, “I am flattered by the many people who have encouraged me to consider running for Congress and I share their concern that Democrats need a strong candidate to occupy headquarters.
“While I feel I owe it to those who have reached out to consider this possibility, I also strongly believe in our campaign to bring strong economic leadership to the governor’s office and stay in the running for governor at this time. .”
The key words in this statement: “at this time”.
Who thinks of running, but undecided
That perhaps leaves plenty of candidates, including a number of past and present lawmakers.
This list includes Democratic Representatives Carol Hagan McEntee, Robert Craven, Joseph Solomon Jr., Thomas Noret and Teresa Tanzi on the House side; Senses Joshua Miller and Sam Bell and former Senator James Sheehan.
Tanzi told the Journal on Monday that she was “still thinking about it.”
Solomon said Monday that Langevin’s resignation represented a “unique opportunity” that he is “thinking seriously about.”
Providence City Council Speaker John Igliozzi is “evaluating options,” an aide said Monday.
Over the weekend, Joy Fox, who has worked for both Langevin and former Governor Gina Raimondo – and now runs the Clarendon Group – confirmed she was also considering a run.
And she’s not the only former Raimondo staffer in the mix.
Gabe Amo, who now works in Joe Biden’s White House, is mentioned as a possible nominee by people with ties to Raimondo and the state’s congressional delegation.
With reports by Patrick Anderson