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Lt. Gov. Dan McKee, a Democrat, has raised considerable speculation with his announcement that on Tuesday, November 7th he plans on making a major announcement that some believe will be his candidacy for governor of Rhode Island.
If that happens it will fuel what already promises to be a spirited primary election with two Republican candidates already announced, and speculation that a third will soon enter the race. On the Democratic side, former Gov. Lincoln Chafee has said he is considering another run for governor, as a Democrat. That could set up a three-way Democratic primary with first term Gov. Gina Raimondo facing McKee and Chafee.
On the Republican side, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan have declared for governor. Former Rep. Joe Trillo of Warwick, who served as President Donald Trump’s Rhode Island campaign co-chair, is also expected to run.
One other possible GOP candidate is Giovanni Feroce, a businessman who has yet to declare and has not filed any financial reports with the Rhode Island Board of Elections.
Raimondo, with nearly $3.1 million in her campaign account, according to the financial filing period ending Sept. 30, is well ahead of any other gubernatorial candidate. What is fueling possible opponents have been polls that show the governor does not enjoy overwhelming local support, although nationally she seems to capture more recognition, with her name surfacing in some quarters as a potential presidential candidate.
McKee, who is in his first term as lieutenant governor, has focused much of his efforts on small business. His latest financial filing, for the period ending Sept. 30, shows a balance of nearly $74,000, well behind Raimondo. Chafee has not submitted any financial filings since 2015, when he showed a zero balance.
Fung, who lost to Raimondo, has a balance of nearly $230,000, raising some $94,000 over the last quarter. He has loaned his campaign about $26,000. Morgan, who has also loaned her campaign about $26,000, had a balance on Sept. 30 of nearly $91,000, with most of that, more than $68,000, raised during the last quarter.
Trillo, who has yet to declare but has made it clear he plans to run, showed a balance of nearly $131,000 in his campaign account as of Sept. 30, $100,000 of which he loaned his own campaign.
While the financial status of the gubernatorial candidates draws the most focus, it is interesting to look back on the candidates this past summer for the state Senate seat left vacant by the retirement from the Senate by M. Teresa Paiva Weed, who left her powerful Senate presidency to become executive director of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island (HARI).
Paiva Weed still shows a balance in her campaign account of nearly $60,000, with records showing some charitable donations, and a $500 donation to David Hanos, a firefighter and Newport School Committee Chairman, who was the endorsed Democratic candidate.
Campaign funds can either be used for an individual’s own campaign, donated to another candidate, donated to a charity or returned to donors.
Hanos still has $3,364 in his account, and David Allard, another unsuccessful candidate, shows a zero account. Allard contributed $150 to Dawn Euer’s campaign. His was the only contribution from unsuccessful primary candidates to Euer, the winner of the primary and general election.
Euer has a balance of $4,457, while Councilman John Florez has a deficit of $228, in financial filings that show he loaned his campaigns (including for council) nearly $93,000.
Michael Smith, the Republican candidate for the state Senate seat, showed a deficit of loans owed of $5,435, and filed a form that dissolved the campaign.