Here is the latest news in the highest-profile 2022 races in Rhode Island, from governor to Congress to mayor of Providence and beyond.
Governor McKee to announce election bid
On Tuesday, Gov. Dan McKee will officially announce that he is running to keep the job to which he ascended when then-Gov. Gina Raimondo left last March for a post in the Biden administration.
McKee campaign manager Brexton Isaacs told The Journal that details of the Feb. 22 announcement are still coming together, but the timing seemed right.
The governor had initially planned to announce his candidacy in late January, after delivering his state of the state address and proposed budget to legislators. Isaacs said he decided to hold off and stay “very focused on governing” – and making sure “school were staying open, small businesses were being supported” at a time when COVID cases were spiking.
“Governing comes first and politics comes later and so he spent January very focused on the COVID spike,” Isaccs said.
Democrat McKee, who was lieutenant governor before his midterm elevation to the top job, faces four challengers within his own party: Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, former Secretary of State Matt Brown, former CVS executive Helena Foulkes and Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz.
Congressional candidate Magaziner wins union backing
State Treasurer Seth Magaziner has picked up his first union endorsement in his run for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District seat.
Magaziner, who as treasurer chaired a School Buildings Task Force and promoted the spending of $1.7 billion on school repairs and construction, announced the endorsement of Ironworkers Local 37.
“Seth’s school construction initiative has put Ironworkers to work around the state as we proudly build and renovate the schools our own children and our neighbors attend,” said Ironworkers Local 37 Business Manager David Langlais, in a statement made public by Magaziner’s campaign.
.”We know he will fight in Washington for working families and we enthusiastically support him,” Langlais said.
The Ironworkers Local 37 gave Magaziner his first union endorsement in his bid for General Treasurer in 2014.
Providence cop says he’s running for lieutenant governor
Providence police officer Jeann Lugo, quietly and without any fanfare, filed paperwork with the Rhode Island Board of Elections in mid-December to mount a Republican run for the state’s No. 2 job.
Lugo also created a website – lugoforltgov.com – in which he describes himself as: “a Hispanic migrant from Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico” who moved to the Valley area of Providence in 1992 with his mother and two brothers.
His backstory: “In the summer of 2000, a domestic incident resulted in the separation of his family by the Providence Police Department/ Social Services. At age 13, Jeann was placed into the custody of DCYF. Jeann remained in foster care until he reached adulthood.”
After taking college courses at the Community College of Rhode Island, he says, he worked for a security firm for 15 years in Greater Boston, and in June 2019, he graduated from the 69th Providence Police Academy.
Lugo, who lives in Warwick, plans a formal announcement later.
According to Providence Police Commissioner Steven Paré, Lugo is a uniformed patrolman who works the 3 to 11 p.m. shift on the East Side. While other city police officers have run for office, such as a legislative seat, Paré said he was unaware of any who have run for state level office.
There are no prohibitions on doing so as long as there is no campaign activity on the job, he said.
Gubernatorial canidate Helena Foulkes backs gun control
On Monday, on the fourth anniversary of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Democratic candidate for governor Helena Foulkes declared her support for legislation to place a 10-round limit on high-capacity magazines and ban assault weapons.
.“It’s unacceptable that in a state as Democratic as Rhode Island, we are so far behind our neighbors when it comes to gun safety,” she said.
“I am incredibly grateful to the legislators and activists who have been fighting for this legislation for years and promise that you will have a strong advocate in the State House when I am elected governor.”
Gun-control supporters in the legislature have reintroduced the bills this year, Foulkes said:
Michael Neary schedules announcement; Bah unveils website
Michael Neary, one of the candidates for the Democratic nomination to run for Rhode Island’s Second Congressional District seat, has scheduled his official campaign announcement for Saturday at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick. He plans to hold the event between noon and 2 p.m. in the plaza ballroom.
Meanwhile, Congressional candidate Omar Bah unveiled his new campaign website –bahforcongress.com – while declaring his support for a slate of progressive causes.
Democrat Bah, who is also seeking the Second District Congressional seat that long-time U.S. Rep. James Langevin is vacating, listed among his priorities: “Defending our planet, by supporting the Green New Deal; Defending democracy, with a specific focus on ensuring access to the ballot … and working to remove big money from politics … Defending a woman’s right to choose … promoting science literacy … Defending economic opportunity, by supporting the passage of the PRO act, which will ensure workers’ right to unionize, and by supporting expanded federal support for technical, vocational, and on-the-job training programs.”